The Edmond Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Sally DeBellevue is married to Col. Charles B. DeBellevue, of Edmond, who became the first Air Force weapon systems officer to be a flying “Ace” after shooting down six MiGs, the most by any U.S. aviator during the Vietnam War.
On May 10, 1972, he and then-Capt. Steve Ritchie, the pilot, shot down their first of four MiG-21s. On Sept. 9, 1972, flying with Capt. John Madden, they shot down two MiG 19s. His awards include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit and six Distinguished Flying Crosses.
“He’s been able to do many different jobs in the military and I feel he did a great job at everything he did,” Sally said.
In part he had an exemplary military career because he is very personable and wants to get to know the people who work for him, she said. He listens, is patient and always upbeat, which is good for morale, she said.
DeBellevue retired from active duty as commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 440, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia Mo., in January 1998, after 30 years of military service. Remarkably, his experience as a base commander (of the 95th Air Base Wing, Edwards AFB, Calif.) did not translate well in the civilian world, Sally said.
“Everything he tried to get, he didn’t have enough experience,” she said.
He accepted a job in Stillwater, which brought the couple to Edmond.
Three other past or current local residents with distinguished military careers will be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. The ceremony was Friday at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Each year, the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation selects 10 Oklahomans to be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Nominees must have a military record that includes heroic or extraordinary leadership action, service or sacrifice, have civilian public service or patriotic service and an established connection to the state.
In addition to DeBellevue, the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 consists of:
• (Retired) Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, of Edmond, the Oklahoma secretary of Veterans Affairs, will also receive the Major General Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Service Award;
• Capt. Boyd L. “Bo” Barclay, of Deer Creek;
• Lt. Col. Orville O. “Bill” Munson, who lived in the Edmond area, will be represented by his son Curt Munson, of Edmond;
• Capt. John Lee Prichard, who was born in Oklahoma City in 1939 and died in Vietnam, will be represented by his brother Bobby Prichard;
• U.S. Army Cavalry scout Amos Chapman, who will be represented by his great-great-grandson Sgt. Buck Chapman;
• Maj. Kenneth D. Bailey, who was born in Pawnee and killed during that battle on Sept. 26, 1942;
• Command Sgt. Maj. Everett Bagley Jr., who joined the Oklahoma National Guard;
• Capt. Vincent A. Kimberlin, who joined the Army at Fort Sill in 1937, will be represented by his son Allen Kimberlin and his daughter Melissa Kimberlin Coates; and
• Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and WWII, who will be represented by Gregory Pule, chief of the Choctaw Nation.
The Oklahoma National Guard encourages all Oklahomans to attend at least one Veterans Day event in their community and take the opportunity to personally thank a veteran for their service to the nation.
PLANS FOR FUTURE EXHIBIT
An effort is under way to create an Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame exhibit in the Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Museum of History Director Dan Provo said.
The hall is sponsored by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, founded in 1999 by Maj. Gen. Douglas O. Dollar (retired) to honor the military service of Oklahomans living or deceased with records of extraordinary service to the nation.
The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation also formed a partnership with Oklahoma Christian University. OC provides space for meetings of the OMHF board, logistical/event planning assistance, telephone lines, storage, space for the luncheon/press and permanent employees.
Provo said the exhibit planned for the military area of the Oklahoma History Center will focus on and change over time all of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame inductees. It will include an interactive database, graphics, film, oral histories, biographies documents, cases displaying artifacts and archival material representing veterans both past and present, Provo said.
Currently, the project is in the fundraising stage, Provo said. It is hoped the exhibit will be opened to the public in November 2013.
Nominations for the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame are due by June 1 of each year.
Marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108