Hello and welcome to Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Veteran Oral History Project. Here, you will find interviews with veterans who have served in the United States military, as well as others having a military affiliation.
These pages were created to enable student veterans, students with a military family identity, and faculty and staff, who are veterans, to share their backgrounds. On this site, student veterans explore their experiences of making the transition home and entering the university. Moreover, students with a military family history discuss their relationships to military family members. Finally, faculty and staff, having a veteran status, explain how their military identities may influence their teaching and working on campus. The veterans here have shared their stories in order to create new dialogues amongst veteran members and their communities and to promote a greater understanding of the nature of veterans’ diverse backgrounds and their academic interests and concerns.
Thanks to Noah Patton, Christala Smith, Greg Dawson, Krista Ramírez, Alex Lehr, and the student workers in the Center for Teaching Development in helping to create this site.
Note: The study involving the collection of interviews and documents housed on this website has been approved by Southeastern’s Institutional Review Board.
Are you a Southeastern community member and would like to tell us your story?
Please fill out the form below with a few details about yourself. We would be happy to hear from veterans and persons with a military identity about their service. We would also be happy to hear about those with a military family background. We will respond to your message as soon as possible.
This history was compiled by Noah Patton.
Stand Waite, a member of the Cherokee tribe, was born December 12, 1806, in New Echota in the Cherokee Nation, East, in present Gordon County, Georgia. During Indian Removal, he relocated to Indian Territory in modern Oklahoma. He obtained the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate States Army. He demonstrated resilience and a remarkable willingness to defend his new homeland, and he was the only Native American to achieve brigadier general rank during the Civil War. He died on September 9, 1871.
Solomon Louis, a member of the Choctaw tribe, was born April 22, 1898, in Hochatown, Eagle County, Choctaw Nation, in the Indian Territory. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E. He was one of the original Code Talkers during World War I, where he drew on his Native American culture to give the Allies a competitive edge. He died on February 15, 1972.
Raymond Harvey, a member of the Chickasaw tribe, was born on March 1, 1920, and was raised in Sulphur, Oklahoma. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. He was highly decorated, including receiving a Medal of Honor. His continued bravery and heroism was and still is an inspiration. He died on November 18, 1996.
Tom Rounsaville was born on July 23, 1919 and was raising in Atoka, Oklahoma. He achieved the rank of Colonel in the United States Army. He earned a Silver Star and many other commendations, and he is a local hero in the Bryan County area. He died on April 14, 1999.
Melvin Morris was born on January 7, 1942, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Pictured on the left in the photo, he achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class in the United States Army as a Green Beret. He was one of the first Army Green Berets and is a medal of honor recipient. His accomplishments are even more remarkable because he achieved them despite living in a culture that made things harder for him as an African American.
Dwight Birdwell, a member of the Cherokee tribe, was born on January 19, 1948, and was raised in Bell, Oklahoma. He achieved the rank of Specialist 5 in the United States Army. He received two Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service. After retiring from the Army, he served on the Cherokee Nation Judicial Appeals Tribunal from 1987 to 1999. He now lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Terry Frabott was born on February 8, 1962. He achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 in the United States Army and received a Silver Star for gallantry in action. He now lives in Altus, Oklahoma, where he puts his expertise to use by mentoring Oklahoma students interested in STEM fields.
Ronny Sweger was born on April 16, 1974, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in Bristow, Oklahoma. He achieved the rank of Sergeant in the United States Army and received a Bronze Star, as well as two Purple Hearts. He now lives in Bixby, Oklahoma, where he works with fellow wounded warriors through organizations, such as the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.
Trevor McWilliams wrote a nonfiction narrative about Benjamin Hampton, an ancestor from Oklahoma, who was a veteran, for Dr. Tara Hembrough’s class, and it is also featured here, along with his analysis of the piece:
This website contains diverse viewpoints. These viewpoints may not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of persons associated with Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Have questions or comments about the Veteran Oral History Project? Send us a message, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.