TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – The Cherokee Nation recognized three veterans with the Medal of Patriotism at the January meeting of the Council of the Cherokee Nation.
According to the Cherokee Nation, Steven Michael Cheatham of Bryan, Texas; Randall Fredrick Willmon of Amarillo, Texas; and Mark Allen Prather of Claremore, Oklahoma, were honored by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and Secretary of Veterans Affairs S. Joe Crittenden. The three were recognized for their service and sacrifice to their country.
According to officials, Steven Michael Cheatham joined the Marines on March 5, 1996 and served as a C-130 Hercules Loadmaster. Gunnery Sgt. Cheatham was chosen to become a member of the Blue Angels Demonstration Team and additionally served as a Jungle Warfare Training Center instructor and tracking expert. Cheatham was honorably discharged on March 31, 2016, and continues to work as a cadet training instructor for the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets.
“It’s truly an honor to be here,” Mr. Cheatham said. “Thank you to the Council for letting me come up here.”
According to the Cherokee Nation, Mark Allen Prather joined the U.S. Navy in February of 1967 and completed boot camp at San Diego Recruit Training. Machinist Mate Petty Officer 2nd Class Prather went to Great Lakes Naval Center where he later graduated and left San Diego for Japan. Prather boarded his first ship, a World War II destroyer named the USS Black DD666, and offered fire support in Vietnam. Mr. Prather had achieved the 2nd Class Machinist Mate rank and was honorably discharged in October 1970.
Officials say Randall Fredrick Willmon joined the Army in March of 1995 and served as a Light Wheel Mechanic for six years. Willmon was reclassed to Calvary Scout for rest of his 14 year service. Sgt. 1st Class Willmon served in the 82nd Airborn 1/37 Armored Regiment, 5/15 Cavalry, 101st Airborn and 4th Cavalry Brigade. After serving in a variety of positions, Willmon retired after 20 years of service and was honorably discharged in March of 2015.
Willmon was unable to attend the January meeting, but was recognized on January 10 while visiting the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center.
According to the Cherokee Nation, the tribe acknowledges Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices to show the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe.