Cherokee Nation honors 4 veterans in January

BY STAFF REPORTS
01/17/2020 11:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Left to right are Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, veteran Jack Crittenden, Tribal Councilor Joe Byrd, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. Jack Crittenden was honored Jan. 13 for his military service during the Tribal Council meeting. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From left to right are Tribal Councilor Keith Austin; veterans and brothers Raymond Jennings Jr., Stephen Jennings and Roger Jennings; Tribal Councilors Julia Coates, Janees Taylor and Mary Baker Shaw; as well as Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. The brothers were honored Jan. 13 for their military service. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans, three of them brothers, with Medals of Patriotism at the Jan. 13 Tribal Council meeting. 

Jack Crittenden, 86, of Tahlequah; Roger Jennings, 70, of Stillwater; Stephen Jennings, 78, of Pryor; and Raymond Jennings Jr., 66, of Collinsville, were recognized by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden for their service and sacrifice to their country. 

“I just want to say it was an honor and it was a privilege to serve with and to command what I consider to be America’s greatest resource,” said Raymond Jennings Jr. “And those are the young men and women who volunteer to serve their country.” 

He was born in 1953 in Georgia and was commissioned to second lieutenant after completing the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Oklahoma State University in 1975. He reported to active duty in 1997 and completed the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course. He served as a chaparral platoon leader and assistant operations officer in Germany. In 1983, Raymond attended a college of law as an advocate general’s corps officer. In addition, he served as the chief of military justice with the 101 Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 1986-89. He completed his active duty career serving as the chief of the Eastern U.S. Torts Branch at the Army Claims service and retired in 1998. 

Roger Jennings was born in 1948 in Dixon, Illinois, and entered the Coast Guard in 1967. He was sent to Cape May, New Jersey, and to Governors Island, New York, for damage control school.

Upon completion, he was sent to the South Pacific for two years aboard the USCG KuKui. While abroad, he made four trips from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam. He was discharged in 1971 as a Damage Control 2/E-5.  

Stephen Jennings was born in 1940 and entered the Army in 1967 and attended officer candidate school in Oklahoma. He graduated in 1968 and was promoted to captain prior to going to Vietnam in 1970. He arrived at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, 5/16th artillery Battalion at Anh Khe. He served six months as a battery commander of the headquarters and service battery. His last part of tour was as an artillery liaison officer for his battalion in the Binh Dinh Province. He returned stateside as a battery commander before being honorably discharged as a captain in 1973. 

Jack Crittenden was born in 1933 in Baron and entered the military in 1953, and served in an air transport squadron from 1953 to 1955 as an airman. He was part of the Transport Squadron UR-22 Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia. He finished his reserve time after separation totaling eight years as a Seaman Recruit E-1, when he was honorably discharged in 1955. 

Each month, the CN recognizes Cherokees 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 U.S. Department of Defense. 

To nominate a veteran who is a CN citizen, call 918-772-4166.

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