TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A local World War II veteran with ties to Neosho and Grove, Okla., recently received a Cherokee Nation award.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — A local World War II veteran with ties to Neosho and Grove, Okla., recently received a Cherokee Nation award.

Glen Dawson, 90 of Pleasant Hill, Mo. traveled to Tahlequah on Monday, with around 30 members of his family who live in the Neosho, Grove and Kansas City area to be presented with the Cherokee National Medal of Patriotism Award, with the Cherokee Warrior Award. Dawson has Cherokee background.

Each month the Cherokee Nation recognizes Cherokee service men and women for their sacrifices and as a way to demonstrate the high regard in which all veterans are held by the tribe. Native Americans, including Cherokees, are thought to have more citizens serving per capita than any other ethnic group according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Serving his country

“I was 17 years old in 1943 and the (World War II) war was just going on, I was just a kid on a farm (in Afton, Okla.),” he said. “And something big was going on and I wanted to go see what it was. So my mother signed me up, and I went into the U.S. Navy.”

Dawson went to boot camp in Idaho for two months, and then went to southern California to a camp where he practiced on landing craft, mechanized (LCM).

“LCMs are used for tanks, big trucks and big guns and (troops),” he said.

After leaving southern California, he headed to Hawaii.

“That was in January of 1944, we went overseas, went to Hawaii, then when I got to Hawaii, I was seasick on the way over,” said Dawson. “Just after daylight, we pulled in and I could see Diamond Head (in Hawaii), and my seasickness went away. We pulled into the harbor, at Pearl Harbor and tied up inside the harbor gates. Along that morning, the aircraft carriers – there was four to five – came out of there and went out to sea. Behind them was so many battleships, then some heavy cruisers and light cruisers destroyers, troop ships started coming out. Early the next morning, they turned us lose, we went out to sea and there were seven troop ships, two destroyers and that is only ships that I could see. Then we went onto the Marshall Islands to the Kwajalein. Then they had the Invasion of Kwajalein there. That was the first place I was at a battle. We were around there for about three months after that battle was over, and went back to Hawaii, stayed there for a certain length of time, I don’t remember how long. Then went to Guam, and then the Battle of the Islands was there. I was in the second wave of that.”

Dawson didn’t get injured during either one of his battles.

Asked if it was scary being on an LCM and preparing to go into battle, Dawson said, “no sir, never even thought about something happening to me. I was so busy at trying to take care of what I was supposed to do, I never thought about being wounded or being killed or what have you.”

Reflecting when he was at Guam, he talked about the landing craft, but also about a something that changed the path of the war for the Allied Forces.

“Then the atomic bomb came over on the USS Indianapolis and it was on a small island,” he said. “They unloaded the bomb – this is hearsay – that they unloaded a bomb there and it went to Saipan and loaded onto the (B-29 Superfortress) Enola Gay. Then it came into the outer harbor of Guam, re-serviced and that afternoon we turned it around and put it back out to sea. And about midnight, the Japanese sunk it, lost most of the crew, it (the ship) was on its way to Japan.”

After the war

Shortly after the war was over in 1945, Dawson stayed in Guam until November 1945, then came home and was discharged in 1946. He met a woman and they married.

“When I came back home, I went to work in heavy construction on heavy equipment, that is what I did for the rest of my life work on heavy equipment on the pipeline,” he said. “Then in 1969, I started my own business, I was in business there until 1982, and I sold out.”

Getting the award

Dawson’s family had heard about the Cherokee Nation award and then Dawson applied for the award by sending in the proper documents to the Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah.

Accepting the award

Prior to receiving the award, Dawson was interviewed by the Cherokee Nation about his time during World War II. With his family in the audience, he – along with four other veterans from previous wars – were given the award and medal.

“I am so tickled, just unbelievable that citizens of the Cherokee Nation to give us that award for patriotism back in that time,” Dawson said. “It is great, it is really great. I will keep it (award), I will keep it pinned up there by the picture that I have got of the boot camp in Idaho of all of us (fellow troops).”

To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, call 918-772-4166.

on was interviewed by the Cherokee Nation about his time during World War II. With his family in the audience, he – along with four other veterans from previous wars – were given the award and medal.

“I am so tickled, just unbelievable that citizens of the Cherokee Nation to give us that award for patriotism back in that time,” Dawson said. “It is great, it is really great. I will keep it (award), I will keep it pinned up there by the picture that I have got of the boot camp in Idaho of all of us (fellow troops).”

To nominate a veteran who is a Cherokee Nation citizen, call 918-772-4166.