Despite the number of local activities planned for this year’s Veteran’s Day commemoration (see below), the festivities will be dampened as we remember two additional Oklahoma service members who were recently killed in action, and who are returning home for the last time, to be laid to rest. American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, Oklahoma honors Sgt. Christopher Gailey and Spc. Sarina Butcher.
The nearby community of Ochelata will be burying one of their sons this week. The funeral for Sgt. Christopher Gailey, 26, will be Saturday, November 12th at 2:00 pm; at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Bartlesville. While a Specialist, Gailey was killed in Afghanistan on November 1st, 2011, after an IED detonated near his military vehicle.
Gailey was described by friends and family as a proud father of a three-year-old daughter, named Ally. He was also noted to be one of the best guys around, with a fondness of for the great outdoors.
Gailey’s casket will be returned to Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon, November 9th at the Tulsa Air National Guard base at Tulsa International Airport. He has been posthumously promoted to Sergeant.
Also killed in the same IED incident, was Pfc. Sarina Butcher of Checotah.
Butcher was a 19-year-old mother serving with the National Guard, supporting her three-year-old daughter and career dreams of being a nurse, when she was killed during a resupply mission. Described as a much-loved daughter, sister, granddaughter, and mother. In her 18 months of service with the Guard, Butcher stood decorated with several ribbons and awards. She has been posthumously promoted to Specialist.
Spc. Sarina Butcher’s name will be an unfortunate note in the history books. She is the first female Oklahoma National Guard soldier to be killed during wartime and is also the youngest Oklahoma citizen-soldier to die in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to an official release. Women were first allowed to join the Oklahoma National Guard in 1971.
Specialist Butcher will have full military honors at her funeral on Friday, November 11th, at 2:00 at the Chapel of Brazzel Cornish in Prescott, Arkansas. (Postscript: both funerals took place as scheduled.)
“The Oklahoma National Guard family is deeply saddened by the loss of these two outstanding citizen-soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Myles L. Deering, Oklahoma’s adjutant general. “Their commitment and willingness to serve our nation during a time of war is indicative of their tremendous character and courage. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and those that continue to serve our country in Afghanistan.”
Both, Gailey and Butcher, were assigned to Company F, 700th Brigade Support Battalion, 45h Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Sand Springs. Together, they are the 17th and 18th military members from Oklahoma killed in action, in 2011.
American Legion Post #142 in Hominy honors the following Oklahoma sons, and now daughter, who were killed in action in 2011:
Sgt. Travis Tompkins, 31, from Lawton. KIA on 3/16/2011
Army Pfc. Dylan Jeffrey Johnson, 20, from Tulsa. KIA on 6/26/2011
National Guard 2nd Lt. Jered W. Ewy, 33, from Edmond. KIA on 7/29/2011
National Guard Spc. Augustus J. Vicari, 22, from Broken Arrow. KIA on 7/29/2011
National Guard Staff Sgt. Kirk Avery Owen, 37, from Sapulpa. KIA on 8/2/2011
National Guard Sgt. Anthony Del Mar Peterson, 24, from Chelsea. KIA on 8/4/2011
Army Spc. Jordan Morris, 23, from Ripley. KIA on 8/11/2011
National Guard 2nd Lt. Joe L. Cunningham, 27, from Kingston. KIA on 8/13/2011
National Guard Lt. Damon Leehan, 30, from Moore. KIA on 8/14/2011
National Guard Spc. Joshua Michael Seals, 21, from Porter. KIA on 8/16/2011.
National Guard Pfc. Tony J. Potter, Jr., 20, from Okmulgee. KIA on 9/9/2011.
National Guard Spc. Christopher D. Horton, 26, from Collinsville. KIA on 9/9/2011.
National Guard Sgt. Bret D. Isenhower, 26, from Lamar. KIA on 9/9/2011.
National Guard Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, 28, from Minco. KIA on 9/15/2011.
National Guard Spc. Francisco J. Briseno-Alvarez Jr., 27, from Oklahoma City. KIA on 9/25/2011.
Marine 1st Lt. Ryan Iannelli, 27, originally from New Jersey. KIA on 9/28/2011.
National Guard Pfc. Sarina Butcher, 19, from Checotah. KIA on 11/1/2011.
National Guard Spc. Chrish Gailey, 26, from Ochelata. KIA on 11/1/2011.