Cherokee Nation honors U.S. Army veterans in November




Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member Buel Anglen, Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, veteran Virgil England, and Tribal Council members Mary Baker Shaw, Harley Buzzard and Wanda Hatfield.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored four U.S. Army veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the Tribal Council meeting Monday.
Virgil England, 81, of Blue Springs, Missouri; Melvin McCoy, 76, of Sallisaw; Terry Rattlinggourd, 69, of Pryor; and Billie Tritthart, 69, of Miami, Oklahoma, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Sgt. England was born Dec. 27, 1935, and enlisted in the Army in July of 1955. England completed basic training in Colorado and volunteered for hazardous duty as an Army paratrooper and was later transferred to Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He proudly served 20 months and made a total of 27 jumps with the Army paratroopers during his military career. England received an honorable discharge in 1958.
“I would sincerely like to thank Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Crittenden for the development, promotion and sponsorship of this wonderful award,” England said. “I think I speak for the rest of my fellow veterans when I say that it is exceptional, and we really appreciate it.”
Sgt. McCoy was born June 23, 1939. After graduating high school and receiving his welding certification, McCoy was drafted in the Army in December of 1963. After completing basic training at Fort Polk in Louisiana, McCoy moved on to complete his advanced infantry training at Fort Sill and was later stationed at Fort Hood in Texas until he was honorably discharged in 1965.
Sgt. Rattlinggourd was born Jan. 1, 1948, and was drafted into the Army in May of 1969. Rattlinggourd completed basic training at Fort Polk in Louisiana and was later deployed to Vietnam. During his deployment, Rattinggourd served as a point man, as an assistant gunner and on mine sweep detail. Rattlinggourd received an honorable discharge in 1971.
Sgt. Tritthart was born Nov. 25, 1947, and was drafted into the Army in June of 1968. Tritthart completed basic training at Fort Polk in Louisiana. After receiving training on M-16 rifle and M-78 grenade launcher, Tritthart was deployed to Vietnam. During deployment, Tritthart served in the 4th Platoon as a point man and was honorably discharged in 1970.
Each month 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 U.S. Department of Defense. To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, please call 918-772-4166.

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