Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA This past week the Cherokee Nation honored three World War II veterans with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism for outstanding service.
(l to r) Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Member David Thornton; Deputy
Principal Chief Joe Crittenden; Medal of Patriotism Recipient Andrew Jackson
Crittenden; Principal Chief Bill John Baker; Tribal Council Members
Don Garvin and Janelle Fullbright
The medals were given to Andrew Jackson Crittenden, 95, of McAlester; Cooie Meigs Jr., 86, of Park Hill and Arch Vann, 89, of Stilwell.
Each month during tribal council meetings the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe.
Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group, according to the US Department of Defense.
Andrew Jackson Crittenden was born in 1917 to John and Annie Crittenden. At the age of 23, he enlisted in the National Guard where he served on the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known as the Thunderbirds.
“When we went into war we knew what we were fighting for, for our country,”
He was privileged to hear General George S. Patton's speech on June 21, 1943. He earned a Silver Star for serving during the Invasion of Anzio, Italy. He also earned two Bronze Stars for bravery and six service stars. Crittenden's unit also helped liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich, Germany. His division served 511 days of full combat, longer than any other division. In 1945, Crittenden returned home with the rank of staff sergeant.
Cooie Meigs Jr. was born in Cherokee County and raised in Park Hill. His parents were Gertie and Cooie Meigs, Sr. After attending Northeastern State University for three semesters, Meigs, in 1943, enlisted in the US Marine Corps and became an expert rifleman. Meigs was wounded twice by Japanese grenade fragments during active duty in Peleliu, Palau and Okinawa, Japan.
“The first grenade knocked my helmet off and two pieces went through the steel part of my helmet and lodged into the fiber on the inside,”
Upon his return in 1946, Meigs was awarded the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts.
Arch Vann was born in Adair County in 1922 and raised in the community of Rock Fence by his parents, White Vann and Jennie Bunch. At 19, he was drafted into the US Navy and stationed in San Diego, California. While preparing for an overseas deployment, Vann was treated for medical problems and unable to go. He was later honorably discharged from the military.
posted June 18, 2012 9:20 am edt