The Cherokee Nation recently honored two of its members for carrying out the longstanding Cherokee military tradition at its November Tribal Council meeting.
Veteran Michael Greer, joined the Marines in March 1997 and had training that covered tactical, survival and avalanche rescue operations. He was a warehouseman whos duties took him around the Pacific, traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia. Greer was born in Tahlequah Oklahoma on February 29, 1976 at W.W. Hastings Hospital to Marie Greer and Mike Jones.
“I went on a trip for six months, on a float,” said Greer. “That’s just amazing how the ocean is. I mean, it’ll be calm one minute, and maybe an hour later, there’s literally storms.”
During his active duty, Greer was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Sea Service Ribbon, Meritorious Mast, Certificate of Appreciation and Rifle Expert Badge. Since returning from duty his life has come full circle, as he currently works at W.W. Hastings Hospital and has two children with his wife, Natasha Ross.
The second veteran honored was Bennie Ross, an Army and Korean War veteran who was born December 28, 1930 in Welling, Oklahoma. He served in the 151st Engineer Combat Battalion for three years upon entering the military in 1951.
“I stayed in Korea 18 months. I was in charge of building roads,” said Ross. “It was a good job. It’s the coldest place I’ve ever been, though. It was 38 below zero.”
In December of 1954, Ross was honorably discharged as a corporal and returned to his wife, Ruth, and their two children. He and his family moved to Los Angeles as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian Relocation Program, where he eventually had six children. He worked for the Sealright Company for 38 years, upon retiring he and Ruth moved to Grandview, Oklahoma where they live today.
The Cherokee Nation honors its Native veteran members each month at its Tribal Council meetings.