The Military Memorial Museum, located at the Greater Southwest Historical Museum, will induct four new members into its Hall of Honor next month.
The Hall recognizes people from the Ardmore area that have served in the military. Inductees are chosen based on their time in the military and their accomplishments in civilian life. Museum Director Rear Adm. Wesley Hull (retired) said this will mark the museum’s 21st induction ceremony.
“We recognize individuals from all branches of service whose accomplishments were exemplary,” Hull said. “We go over everything with a fine-tooth comb.”
This year’s inductees are Air Force Captain Robert Harris, Army Colonel Dale Newell, Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Delbert Black and Navy Seaman First Class Billy Turner.
Hull said this year’s induction is somewhat unique because each man’s story is closely tied to military history.
For example, Harris’ work defending a Cambodian base during the Vietnam War earned him an award for Distinguished Flying Prowess, but his mission was carried out while all US activity in Cambodia was top secret.
“It was 32 years before that mission was declassified,” Hull said.
Newell, an Ardmore local, participated in the Vietnam Counteroffensive and the TET Counteroffensive.
“And he had quite a distinguished career, even after the military,” Hull said.
The two other inductees, Black and Turner, are deceased. Their families will receive awards in their place. Hull said their stories are connected in an unexpected way.
Turner was named the first World War II casualty from Ardmore when the ship he was stationed on, the USS Oklahoma, took damage and capsized during the Pearl Harbor attack. The ship right next to the USS Oklahoma, the USS Maryland, was shielded from the bulk of the attack. Black was aboard, and went on to become the first Master Chief Petty Officer for the Navy.
The ceremony will start at 2 p.m. June 11 at the Greater Southwest Historical Museum. After the ceremony, cake and punch will be served.