Cherokee Nation honors two Army veterans


Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden and Tribal Councilor Curtis Snell stand with Army Veteran Frank Lee Payton as he receives his Cherokee Medal of Patriotism medal from Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored two U.S. Army veterans with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism at its July Tribal Council meeting.

James Roger Peacock, 66, of Tulsa, and Frank Lee Payton, 73, of Jay, received a medal and plaque from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden July 15, acknowledging their service to the country.

“This is the first time I have been honored in any capacity for my military service 45 years ago,” Peacock said. “To be honored by my tribe means the world to me, and I appreciate it very much.”

Peacock was born in Tulsa in 1947. In 1966, he was drafted into the U. S. Army during the height of the Vietnam War. He was assigned to Fort Polk, La., for three months of basic combat training and assigned the position of assistant self-defense instructor because of his experience with martial arts. Peacock was later assigned to Fort Sheridan, Ill., and 5th Army Headquarters for military police training where he was an unarmed defense instructor. He was scheduled to be sent to Vietnam but was instead sent to Chicago because of riots and civil insurrection during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

While on patrol in Chicago, he was shot in the back with a .301-caliber rifle but was protected by a bullet shield attached to the back of a patrol car seat. Peacock received an honorable discharge from the Army in 1968 and received the National Defense Ribbon, sharpshooter and expert medals with an M14 rifle and .45 mm pistol. Peacock has one child, Roger Peacock, and continues to live in Tulsa.

Payton was born Nov. 10, 1939, in Scraper, Okla. He joined the U.S. Army in 1960 and was sent to Fort Riley, Kan., for basic training. He was then sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Md., a training school for ROTC officers, and was promoted to private first class and specialist 4th class. Payton was later sent to Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii to serve as a military police officer. Payton received an honorable discharge on Dec. 27, 1962, along with a good conduct medal and an expert carbine, and qualified as an expert sharpshooter with a rifle. He also took championship horseshoe tournaments held for soldiers.

He now lives in Jay with his wife, Marilyn. He has four sons, two stepdaughters, 19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices 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 Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.

Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896 

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