The Cherokee Nation honored three U.S. Army military veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the September Tribal Council meeting.
John Ernest Petty, 84, of Amarillo, Texas; Frankie Barnett, 66, of Pryor; and John Anthony Plunkett, 51, of Coalgate, received the medal acknowledging their service to the country from Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.
Command Sgt. Maj. Petty was born May 11, 1930, in Vernon, Texas. Petty joined the U.S. Army in 1947 and completed basic training at Fort Ord in California. He also completed amphibious training at Fort Worden in Washington and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. During his deployment to Korea, Petty was part of the 24th Infantry Division responsible for taking Hill 770 and the city of Kumsong, a key supply center for enemy troops. He was injured on the second day of the offense and received the Purple Heart for his heroic actions. Petty returned to the United States and was assigned to the 509th AAA Gun Battalion. Petty received an honorable discharge in 1970. For his service, he received two Bronze Stars, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Medal and the Silver Star.
"I would like to thank the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center, and I'd like to thank my wife. She's been my rock for 64 years," Petty said.
Sgt. Barnett was born Nov. 5, 1948, in Tahlequah. Barnett joined the U.S. Army in 1968 and completed basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He was deployed to Vietnam from November 1968 to November 1969. Barnett served as a 4.2 mortar operator with the 17rd Airborne Brigade at An Khe, Vietnam, before being attached to the 1st Field Force in Phan Thiet, Vietnam. After returning stateside, he served at Fort Lewis, Washington, as a target detection instructor until his honorable discharge in 1970. Barnett received numerous honors and medals, including the Nation Defense Service Medal, Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Combat Infantryman's Badge.
Staff Sgt. Plunkett was born Jan. 19, 1964, in Shawnee. Plunkett joined the U.S. Army in 1983 and completed basic training and advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was then stationed in Bamberg, Germany, where he served as an armored personnel carrier and M203 grenade launcher and M16 infantry squad member. Barnett continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1986 to 1990 as a training and operations sergeant with the 95th Infantry Division. Barnett's primary duties included coordinating rangers, evaluating training and drill sergeants, and serving as opposition forces during exercises. He later joined the U.S. Army Oklahoma National Guard in 2007 as the anti-terrorism force protection sergeant. He was deployed to Bucca, Iraq, in 2008. Barnett retired in 2012 with numerous honors and medal, including two Army Achievement Medals, the Bronze Wheeled Vehicle Driver Award and the Bronze German Army Marksmanship Badge.
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.