Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick, U.S. Army veteran Ah-nee Christie and Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd.
, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored a father and daughter who both served in the U.S. Marine Corps as well as a U.S. Army veteran from Tahlequah with the Medal of Patriotism at the May Tribal Council meeting on Monday.
Bernard Bennett, 72, of Broken Arrow; Sara Bennett, 22, of Broken Arrow; and Ah-nee Christie, 29, of Tahlequah, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Staff Sgt. Bernard Bennett was born on Dec. 26, 1944 in Muskogee, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1963. Bennett served tours in Vietnam, two western Pacific tours on USS Yorktown and also served in the Honor Guard in 1963. During his service, Bennett trained numerous fellow Marines for combat and received 13 medals, 18 ribbons and a record promotion to sergeant after only two years and eleven months of service. Bennett was promoted to staff sergeant before he was honorably discharged in 1966.
“I want to say thank you for this honor. I am grateful to be a member of the Cherokee Nation, long live the Cherokee Nation and the traditions of the Cherokee people,” said Bennett.
Sgt. Sara Bennett was born on Oct. 7, 1994 in Tulsa, and is the daughter of Staff Sgt. Bernard Bennett. She followed in her father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2013. After enlistment, she served for six months on reserve, before enlisting in active duty. Bennett was stationed in South Carolina with the 4th Battalion, Company O, Platoon 4024, when she requested to deploy. She was injured while on active duty and honorably discharged in 2014. Bennett received eight service medals and continues to serve as an inactive reservist until 2018.
Sgt. Christie was born on Dec. 31, 1987 in Tahlequah and enlisted in the Army in 2008. She served one tour in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. During enlistment, she served as the first female member of her unit and the first female artilleryman in the 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment. Christie also received numerous commendations and awards for her service. She was honorably discharged in 2015 and in 2016, enlisted in the National Guard where she currently serves as a guardsman.
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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