Cherokee Nation honors veterans

The Cherokee Nation honored veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the June Tribal Council meeting. Present were, from left: Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan, Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden, U.S. Army veteran Billy Cecil of Park Hill, and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the June Tribal Council meeting on Monday.

Billy Cecil, 70, of Park Hill; John Cochran, 69, of Claremore; Ashley Rutherford, 72, of Burleson, Texas; and Marvin Winton, 83, of Amarillo, Texas, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden and Principal Chief Bill John Baker, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.

Spc. Cecil was born in 1947, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966. After completing training, he served deployments in both Frankford and Schweinfurt, Germany, where he served as a trainer clerk before being promoted to the person in charge of ammunition. After returning stateside, Cecil was assigned to Fort Sill where he worked as a mail clerk with the 1st and 18th artillery. Cecil was honorably discharged in 1970.

Sgt. Cochran was born in 1950, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1968. After training, he was sent to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where he finished advanced training and became an Army security agent before he volunteered to serve in Vietnam. Cochran served deployments in Pleiku and An Khe, Vietnam, before returning stateside and reenlisting in the U.S. Army in 1974. After reenlisting, he was deployed to Germany and Thailand. Cochran was honorably discharged in 1977.

Sgt. Rutherford was born in 1946, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a part of the Military Police division. In his first year of service, Rutherford was deployed to Vietnam and served two and a half tours in the combat zone. After returning to the stateside, Rutherford served as Head Quarter Company Army Pacific Command. Rutherford was honorably discharged in 1969.

“On behalf of my family, who are in large part members of the tribe, I thank you for this,” Rutherford said. “It’s an honor for me and for them.”

Cpl. Winton was born in 1935, and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1956. After completing training, he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, and became a Marine Corps clerk. Later, he was transferred to Camp Matthews in San Diego where he received training as a sharp shooter for cold weather, mountain and beach landings. Winton also served with the Company B, 1st Motor Transport Battalion where he was certified as a Motor Transportation clerk. Winton was honorably discharged in 1958.