(L to R) Front: Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden honored Army Veteran Luman Wildcat along with Principal Chief Bill John Baker with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism. Back: Wildcat’s wife, Leona Ashes, and Tribal Councilor Don Garvin stand in support.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored two U.S. veterans with the Cherokee Medal of Patriotism at its August Tribal Council meeting.
Don Hubbard, 66, of Terlton, Okla., and Luman Wildcat, 72, of Porum, received a medal and plaque from Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden August 12, acknowledging their service to the country.
“I appreciate the Cherokee Nation and Tribal Council for this honor,” Hubbard said. “I’m sure they have a lot of important work, but they still take the time to honor us, and that means a lot.”
Staff Sgt. E-6 Hubbard was born March 19, 1947, and is a native of the Titanic community in Stilwell. At 17, he enlisted into the Marine Corps and left for boot camp in San Diego, followed by Camp LeJeune, N.C., until his unit was ordered to Vietnam in June 1966.
He served with the 1st Battalion 9th Marines, nicknamed “The Walking Dead” for sustaining the highest casualty rate in Marine Corps history.
During his 13-month tour, he was injured in an ambush pulling fallen Marines and only two in his squad survived. He was later injured after setting off a trip wire and sent to a naval hospital in Okinawa, Japan, and then to the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines. He then returned to San Diego as a rifle and pistol instructor until receiving an honorable discharge in July 1968.
Hubbard’s service earned him three purple hearts, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, a National Defense Ribbon and two Good Conduct Medals.
He returned to Oklahoma and studied art at Bacone College and joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, where he worked for nearly 20 years before retiring in 1994. He currently lives in the small community of Terlton in Pawnee County and has four daughters, three grandsons and one granddaughter.
Specialist 4th Class “MP” Luman Wildcat was born July 11, 1941, near Greenleaf Lake State Park. Wildcat graduated from Braggs High School and attended Northeastern State University for three years before being drafted into the Army in 1965.
Wildcat was sent to Fort Polk, La., for basic training and received his military police training at Fort Gordon, Ga. He spent the rest of his service in Germany, where he amazed his fellow soldiers with traditional song and dance, until he was honorably discharged in 1967.
After his service, Wildcat worked for W.P. Milling Company in Muskogee for 27 years, making a living driving a truck and touring the country.
Today, he lives with his wife of 46 years, Leona Ashes, in Porum. They have three sons and one daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
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 918-453-5541 or 800-256-0671, ext. 5541.
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