TAHLEQUAH, OKLA. – The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans with the tribe’s Medal of Patriotism during the August Tribal Council meeting.
Harrell Brooner, 75, of Tahlequah; James Hail, 72, of Fort Smith; Larry Chandler, 67, of Claremore; and Lansford Martin, 84, of Vinita, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service to their country.
Seaman Brooner was born in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January of 1960. That same year he was stationed in both California and Washington before being deployed to the Philippine Islands the following year.
During his tour in the Philippines, Brooner was chosen as “Man of the Month,” which was an accomplishment to his sea time in the Navy. In 1964, Brooner returned stateside and received an honorable discharge. He then transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserves until his release in 1966.
“It is a great honor to receive this award and to represent the Cherokee Nation,” Brooner said. “I’d say if I had it to do over again, I’d do it 12 times over.”
Spc. Hail was born in 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in June of 1969. Hail completed his training at Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Benning in Georgia before being deployed to Long Binh in South Vietnam.
During his time in Vietnam, Hail served with Company A 7th Support Battalion 199th Infantry Brigade until they returned stateside and he was reassigned to Bien Hoa, Vietnam. In 1971, Hail returned stateside and received an honorable discharge.
Spc. Chandler was born in 1949 and enlisted in the Army in December of 1967. Chandler completed his basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Polk in Louisiana before being deployed to Rashad, Germany.
For the remainder of his service, Chandler served at Army Garrison Installations Missile Base in Germany and later returned stateside. In 1969, Chandler was honorably discharged.
Seaman Martin was born in 1933 and enlisted in the Navy in June of 1951. After training, Martin was deployed to Guam and Northern Saipan, Marianas Islands, where he served for a total of 19 months.
After his tour, Martin returned stateside where he was assigned to the USS Andromeda out of San Francisco. While aboard the ship, he toured the Pacific Islands. Martin was promoted to seaman first class radio operator before he received an honorable discharge in 1955.
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.