The only member of Oklahoma's Choctaw Nation to receive the Medal of Honor is among 10 Oklahomans being inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in November.
Five of the inductees are deceased, including two who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroism, and an Edmond man who was missing in action in Vietnam for 39 years before his remains were found and returned home.
One inductee will receive the Maj. Gen. Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Service Award. Dollar, a member of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, is a Vietnam veteran who later served in the U.S. Army Reserve.
This year's banquet will be held Nov. 9, at the Jim Thorpe Museum's Events Center, 4040 N Lincoln in Oklahoma City.
The inductees of 2013 are:
Sgt. 1st Class Tony K. Burris, who was born May 30, 1929, in Blanchard and died Oct. 9, 1951, on Heartbreak Ridge in Korea where his action resulted in a posthumous Medal of Honor. He also was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters. His company encountered intense fire, but Burris charged forward alone throwing hand grenades and killing 15 of the enemy. On Oct. 9, he was wounded by machine gun fire but continued assaulting an enemy position. He rose to his feet and charged with hand grenades, destroying two more enemy positions before being mortally wounded.
1st Lt. Frederick F. Henry, who was born Sept. 23, 1919, in Vian. He enlisted in the Army and served in World War II and the Korean War. His platoon was attacked by a numerically superior force near Andong, Korea. Although severely wounded, he ordered his platoon to withdraw and despite his wound, he remained behind to cover the platoon's movement. When last seen he was single-handedly firing all available weapons, resulting in 50 enemy casualties. He ran out of ammunition and his position was overrun. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, two Bronze Star Medals and two Purple Hearts posthumously.
Maj. Gen. Nicholas S. Krawciw, who was born Nov. 28, 1935, in Poland. He served in 1962-63 in Vietnam and was severely wounded in an ambush. He served a second tour. During his combat tours, he earned three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars (two with V's for Valor), Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals and the Purple Heart. In 1972-73 Krawciw, then a lieutenant colonel, served as chief of operations officer for the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization in Jerusalem during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He also served in the Department of Defense and as director of NATO Policy. Upon retirement Maj. Gen. Krawciw moved to Tulsa.
Gen. Edwin H. Burba Jr., who was born Sept. 13, 1936, in McAlester. He now lives in McDonough, Ga. He graduated from West Point in 1959 and went to the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Ga., where he graduated from the Officer Basic Course, the Airborne Course and Ranger Course. He served two tours in Vietnam and was seriously wounded during his second tour. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during a battle in 1968 in which his unit was heavily engaged with a larger force and he exposed himself to hostile fire to maneuver his men into a good defensive position. He was seriously wounded but continued to perform his duty.
Lt. Col. William R. Schwertfeger, who was born Sept. 22, 1945, in Enid and grew up on a farm near Medford. He now lives in Caldwell, Kan. He graduated from Oklahoma State University on June 30, 1967, and entered active duty through the Air Force ROTC program at OSU. He flew 352 combat missions in Vietnam. On Feb. 18, 1972, he and his weapons systems officer were orbiting a potential enemy site when their F-4 was hit by a Russian surface-to-air missile, which crippled the F-4, forcing Schwertfeger to land in what he thought was a safe area but was actually in the middle of North Vietnamese army soldiers. He and the weapons system officer were held 407 days as POWs in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Schwertfeger's medals include three Silver Stars, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts, three Meritorious Service Medals, 34 Air Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal and Prisoner of War Medal.
Maj. Frederick J. Ransbottom, U.S. Army, who was born Sept. 19, 1946, in Columbus, Ohio, and in 1963 moved to Oklahoma. His mother lives in Edmond. Ransbottom graduated from Putnam City High School, attended Oklahoma Baptist University and then enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry. He deployed to Vietnam in January 1968 and commanded a long-range reconnaissance platoon. His unit was assigned to defend 30 outposts in the mountains surrounding a Special Forces Camp at Kham Duc, which was surrounded by an estimated 5,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. On Mother's Day, May 12, 1968, his area came under a massive attack, was overrun and he was killed. Officials believed Maj. Ransbottom was a POW, but he was not. In 2006, nearly 39 years later, his remains were found and returned to Oklahoma. His medals and decorations include the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Lt. Col. Michael E. Sloniker, of Edmond, who was born Aug. 27, 1945, in Fort Sill. In 1971, he was an U-1H Iroquois pilot and platoon leader with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company of the 23rd Infantry Division in South Vietnam. His medals and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star medal with Oak Leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal — 27th award with V and the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He retired from the Army on Oct. 1, 1990, and joined Lockheed Martin Corp. He retired from Lockheed Martin in 2011.
U.S. Navy Capt. Robert J. Kelsey, who was born Dec. 2, 1945, in Lawton. He died June 24, 1992. He completed flight training in the A-4F aircraft in June 1979. After flight training he reported to the USS Oriskany in Southeast Asia and participated in air operations over North and South Vietnam. He was deployed twice with a VA-105 Squadron to the Mediterranean Sea and for service there was awarded the Commander Naval Air Atlantic Battle E and the Rear Admiral C. Wade McClusky award. During his naval career he flew more than 3,500 hours. His medals include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross three Meritorious Service Medals, 20 Air Medals with V's and seven Navy Commendation Medals. He retired from the Navy on June 4, 1992, and died June 24, 1992 of cancer.
Lt. Col. Dudley J. Britton, who was born April 23, 1917, in Turley near Tulsa. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1935. In 1937, he served in the Philippines. He was commissioned after Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. He was serving in Company B, 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division, on Aug. 10, 1944, when the unit landed eight miles from Utah Beach during the World War II Normandy Invasion. Britton fought in Europe and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry for his actions in Belgium at the battle of St. Vith on Dec. 22, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. He also was wounded and awarded his First Oak Leaf Cluster to his Purple Heart Medal. He would serve again in combat during the Korean War. His medals include the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge with Star, designating a second award of that badge. In 1960 he began a 13-year tour in Southeast Asia including service in Vietnam as a military adviser. Britton died in 1992.
Lt. Col. Jerry P. Orr, of Lawton, who will receive the Maj. Gen. Douglas Dollar Distinguished Service Award. Orr was born Dec. 27, 1934, in Shreveport, La. Orr entered Army service in 1957. He was injured twice in combat. In 1958, he deployed to Korea, serving as a platoon leader and forward observer with the 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery. He returned to Fort Sill and commanded a battery in the 1st Missile Brigade. He served as an aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. William P. Peers, and then commanded a Little John Missile Firing Battery. In 1963 he served in Germany. In 1968, he served in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division. He was assigned as S-1 Division Support Command for two months and then assumed duty as operations officer, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery where he served as interim battalion commander for one month during some of the most intense ground combat in the Central Highlands. He later served in the Pentagon in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development. His awards include the Soldier's Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with V for valor, two Purple Hearts, three Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Medals and the Army Commendation Medal.