TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation honored four veterans with the Medal of Patriotism during the October meeting of the Council of the Cherokee Nation.
Father and son Jackie Dale Grass of Chickasha and Jackie Scott Grass of Shady Shores, Texas, Grover Cleveland Parnell of Tulsa, and Ralph Dale Higinbotham of Chouteau were recognized by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden, acknowledging their service and sacrifice to their country.
Jackie Dale Grass entered the United States Army on Feb. 6, 1969. He completed boot camp at Fort Polk, Louisiana and went on to complete his advanced individual training at Tigerland at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Jackie Dale Grass was accepted for noncommissioned officer school where he was promoted to sergeant and received orders to deploy to Vietnam. He served in Vietnam from Oct. 5, 1969, until Oct. 4, 1970, as a squad lead. He returned to the states and was honorably discharged on Dec. 6, 1971. He received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
“I think the Cherokee Nation is doing a great job for the Cherokees,” Jackie Dale Grass said. “I appreciate you all having us here tonight and I appreciate the award. If I had it to do over, I’d do it again.”
Jackie Scott Grass joined the U.S. Marines on July 25, 1989. He completed boot camp in San Diego, California, and was then stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. He served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the Persian Gulf War. He had a primary Military Occupational Specialty as an infantry and he served with Alpha Company, First Battalion, 4th Marines and 1st Marine Division, also known as the Alpha Raiders. He was honorably discharged on July 24, 1993, with the rank of corporal. Jackie Scott Grass received the National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three stars, Kuwait Liberation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Grover Cleveland Parnell was drafted into the United States Army on Feb. 14, 1967, and was sent to basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He was moved to Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, where he trained as a rocket crewman. Parnell was then transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, for burial details along with mortar training. He was deployed to Germany for a year where he trained Germain soldiers on rockets, while his other duties included guarding the nuclear warheads that were housed there. Parnell was honorably discharged on Jan. 22, 1969, with the rank of E4 Specialist 4th Class. He received the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Ralph Dale Higinbotham enlisted in the United States Army on April 24, 1968. He completed basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana and completed Advanced Individual Training as a combat medic at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas. On Oct. 4, 1968, Higinbotham was deployed to Vietnam as a combat medic and volunteered for duty as a “dustoff” helicopter medical corpsman, who provided medical care aboard helicopters going to hospitals. He completed his military duty at Fort Sam in Houston as a medical corpsman in the psychiatric hospital for those returning from Vietnam. He was honorably discharged on April 23, 1970. He received the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
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 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.