4 Cherokee veterans honored
World War II veteran and Cherokee Nation citizen Paul Dudley, left, is recognized for his service on Oct. 15 by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and other tribal leaders. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Korean War veteran Thomas Parris, left, is honored on Oct. 15 by the Cherokee Nation for his 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Vietnam veteran Larry Parker, right, stands next to Cherokee Nation Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden on Oct. 15 after being honored as a “Cherokee Warrior.” CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation leaders, including Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., right, honor CN citizen and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jared Harnar for his service on Oct. 15. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee veterans representing World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and peacetime were honored in October for their service.
Cherokee Nation citizens Paul Dudley, Thomas Parris, Larry Parker and Jared Harnar were the latest recipients of the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism and Cherokee Warrior designation. Honors were bestowed upon the veterans during the Oct. 15 Tribal Council meeting.
“I never dreamed that I would receive it, but I’m very, very pleased and honored,” said WWII veteran Dudley, 95, of Bixby.
Dudley served from 1942-45 in the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1943, he was sent overseas to Thule Air Base in Greenland.
“He was sent to this air force base for the rest of his military tour as an aircraft electrician servicing bombers coming from Canada and the Royal Air Force Base,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “Thule Air Base in Greenland, folks, just to put it in perspective, is 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle.”
Korean War veteran Parris, 86, of Tahlequah, became a medical technician in the U.S. Air Force. In total, he spent 20 years in service from 1948-68. Parris was stationed in Germany until 1950.
“Upon his return to the states, he was assigned to several aircraft control and warning sites,” Warner said. “Mr. Parris was in the standby company for Korea. In 1955, he received orders to report to Canada. Then he was transferred to Lajes Field Air Base in the Azores Islands in Portugal for a period of three years.”
Family members said Parris signed up at age 14 after his sister signed their mother’s name to a certificate stating he was 18.
Parker, 67, of Chelsea, served in the U.S. Army from 1968-71. An aviation mechanic and crew chief, Parker was shipped to Vietnam for a tour of duty before he was honorably discharged as an E-5 sergeant.
“It was an honor and a privilege to serve,” Parker said, “and I want to thank you guys for recognizing us.”
A peacetime veteran, Harnar, 48, of Springfield, Missouri, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1993-97. Harnar served with the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines Weapons Company, where he finished his military service as an E-5 sergeant.
“It was an honor serving my country,” he said.
Warner, councilors, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and former Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden – now the tribe’s secretary of Veterans Affairs – presented the honors.
To nominate a veteran, call 918-772-4166.