By ASHLEY WOLSTONCROFT
and JOHN GREINER
A Henryetta native, Edward Allen DeVore Jr., is being inducted in the Military Hall of Fame.
Specialist 4 Edward DeVore will be among 10 Oklahoma heroes inducted by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Norman on Oct. 21. The other recipients will be selected by the foundation at a later date.
“DeVore, whose family called him Allen, was born June 15, 1947 in Henryetta. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. DeVore,” John Greiner of the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation recalled. “His father worked at the Eagle-Pitcher Smelter, but moved the family to Torrance, California when young DeVore was about four years old. Still, DeVore kept in touch with his hometown because his family would return to Henryetta periodically for visits with family and friends.”
According to DeVore’s cousin, Kenneth DeVore, one of those visits included the celebration of Bessie and Luther DeVore’s (Allen’s grandparents) 50th wedding anniversary.
As time went on, DeVore entered the U.S. Army in 1966. He was later sent to Vietnam, where he was assigned to Co. B., 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, and 9th Infantry Division.
“He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroism during a battle on March 17, 1968, near Saigon. He was a machine gunner with Co. B. when its lead element came under heavy enemy fire from automatic weapons, Claymore mines and rockets and grenades from well-concealed enemy bunkers,” Greiner said. “One American soldier was killed and three wounded. DeVore raced through the enemy fire with his machine gun to establish a fire base to help the unit. Following strikes on the enemy by American artillery, helicopter gunships and air strikes, a squad went to retrieve fallen comrades but was hit by intense enemy automatic weapons fire.”
With complete disregard for his personal safety, DeVore assaulted the enemy positions.
“He was hit in the shoulder and knocked down, but despite his pain and warnings from his fellow soldiers, DeVore jumped to his feet and continued his assault under intense hostile fire,” DeVore’s Medal of Honor Citation said. “By drawing the enemy fire upon himself, DeVore enabled the trapped American squad to rejoin it’s platoon in safety. Spc4 DeVore’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in close combat were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 39th Infantry and the U.S. Army.”
Greiner’s story of heroism was discovered when U.S. Navy Veteran Bill Goodner began searching names of Henryettans who were killed in active duty, in order to update the Doughboy plaque.
Goodner, his wife Verna and daughter Janet, as well as many other Henryetta citizens and the Henryetta Free-Lane assisted in the search.
“After a story about the search ran in the Free-Lance, Goodner received a phone call from Kathy DeVore Graffman of Henryetta,” Greiner explained. “She told him about DeVore, her cousin, who was awarded the Medal of Honor. Goodner got a copy of Allen DeVore’s Medal of Honor citation and DeVore’s name was placed on the plaque.”
For more details on Greiner’s story, contact John Greiner at 405-842-2706.