TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans, three of them brothers, with the Medal of Patriotism at the January Tribal Council meeting on Monday.

Jack Crittenden, 86, of Tahlequah; Roger Jennings, 70, of Stillwater; Stephen Jennings, 78, of Pryor; and Raymond Jennings Jr., 66, of Collinsville, were recognized by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.

“I just want to say it was an honor and it was a privilege to serve with and to command what I consider to be America’s greatest resource,” said Raymond Jennings Jr. “And those are the young men and women who volunteer to serve their country.”

Raymond Jenning Jr. was born in 1953 in Georgia and was commissioned to Second Lieutenant after completing the Army ROTC program at Oklahoma State University in 1975. He reported to active duty in 1997 and completed the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course. He served as a chaparral platoon leader and assistant operations officer in Germany. In 1983, Mr. Jennings attended a College of Law as an advocate general’s corps officer. In addition, he served as the Chief of Military Justice with the 101 Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 1986 to 1989. Mr. Jennings completed his active duty career serving as the Chief of the Eastern U.S. Torts Branch at the Army Claims service, and retired in 1998.

Roger Jennings was born in 1948 in Dixon, Illinois, and entered the Coast Guard in 1967. He was sent to Cape May, New Jersey, and to Governors Island, New York, for damage control school. Upon completion, Mr. Jennings was sent to the South Pacific for two years aboard the USCG KuKui. While Mr. Jennings was abroad, he made four trips from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam. He was discharged in 1971 as a Damage Control 2/ E 5. 

Stephen Jennings was born in 1940 and entered the Army in 1967 and attended officer candidate school in Oklahoma. He graduated in 1968 and was promoted to captain prior to going to Vietnam in 1970. He arrived at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, 5/16th artillery Battalion at Anh Khe. Mr. Jennings served six months as a battery commander of the headquarters and service battery. His last part of tour was as an artillery liaison officer for his battalion in the Binh Dinh Province. Mr. Jennings returned stateside as a battery commander before being honorably discharged as a captain in 1973.

Jack Crittenden was born in 1933 in Baron and entered the military in 1953, and served in an air transport squadron from 1953 to 1955 as an airman. Mr. Crittenden was part of the Transport Squadron UR-22 Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia. He finished his reserve time after separation totaling eight years as a Seaman Recruit E 1, when he was honorably discharged 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, call 918-772-4166.

Additional Photos