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News > Volunteers brave cold to mark vets’ graves at Tinker Kuhlman Cemetery
Wreath laying
Joann Winters, left, and Ruth Johnson, kneeling, from the Malcolm Hunter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, secure a wreath at the grave of a World War I veteran buried in Kuhlman Cemetery at Tinker Air Force Base. The ceremony was held Monday in conjunction with Wreaths Across America Day, which will be observed Dec. 10 to honor the nation’s veterans at Arlington and in cemeteries across the country. (Air Force photo by David Faytinger)
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Volunteers brave cold to mark vets’ graves at Tinker Kuhlman Cemetery

Posted 12/8/2011   Updated 12/8/2011 Email story   Print story


by Mike W. Ray
Tinker Public Affairs

12/8/2011 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- Chilly temperatures combined with a blustery, biting wind didn't deter the Daughters of the American Revolution from remembering six U.S. veterans whose final resting place is Tinker Air Force Base.

Ruth Johnson and Joann Winters, both of Oklahoma City, braved the inclement weather Monday morning to place commemorative wreaths on the graves of veterans from three branches of the military and from three wars who are buried in Kuhlman Cemetery. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the kick-off of Wreaths Across America, explained Malcolm Hunter Chapter member Betty Joe Spruce-Worley of Oklahoma City, a retired Air Force Reserve master sergeant.

Veterans honored by the Malcolm Hunter Chapter of the DAR were:
· Pvt. Martin J. Boettger, a U.S. Army infantryman in World War I who was killed in action in 1918 at the age of 23
· Walter V. Melton, 99, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War I
· James Michael Jacobs, 78, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II
· Pfc. Ovah Charles "Chuck" Donwerth, 46, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict
· William E. "Bill" Hall, 59, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam
· Robert Gene "Bob" Jacobs, 47, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era

Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. This year the route began Dec. 4 in Maine and continued on to Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland; it will conclude Dec. 10 at Arlington.

Volunteers with Wreaths Across America are committed to spreading a message about "the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms."

Kuhlman is a multi-family cemetery squeezed in between Tinker Gate and the base golf course, on the west side of Air Depot Boulevard.

Among the communities established after the famous land run of 1889 opened the Unassigned Lands to homesteaders was Boone Township. Local settlers of German descent leased two acres in the township section for a church and a cemetery.

The church was never built but the graveyard was established. An infant child of one of the local pioneers became the first interment, and subsequently more than 70 family members were buried in the cemetery during three different centuries. When the graveyard and surrounding acreage were incorporated into Tinker AFB in 1955, base officials agreed to maintain the cemetery and to provide perpetual access to the graveyard to family members whose loved ones are buried there.

A permanent marker relating the history of the cemetery was dedicated on April 22, 2004, the 115th anniversary of the Oklahoma Land Run.

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