Ernest E. Evans
U.S. Navy photograph of Commander Ernest E. Evans (1908-1944).
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee, has invited all Oklahomans to attend the inaugural Oklahoma Memorial Trail Ruck-Off in Pawnee, OK, on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
The event is being held to increase awareness about veteran's issues, support military recruiting efforts and kick-off the newly created Oklahoma Military Trails.
"This is a project that members of the Legislative Veteran's Caucus and several departments in Oklahoma have been working on for awhile now," Burns said. "This is an event we would love to continue annually in different parts of the state, and we are thankful to the City of Pawnee, Pawnee Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs for their partnership in putting on this inaugural event."
The Oklahoma Military Trails will resemble the Oklahoma Fishing Trail, but with an emphasis on honoring and enriching the military history in Oklahoma.
“ODVA is thrilled to reveal and demonstrate this informational resource at the inaugural Oklahoma Memorial Trail Ruck-Off,” said Acting ODVA Executive Director Sarah Lane.
“The Oklahoma Military Trail will truly put Oklahoma’s rich military history in the palm of your hand and encourage Oklahoman’s to explore and learn more about our state’s heroes. We are grateful to Rep. Burns and the members of the Veterans Caucus for their contributions to the platform’s development, and promise to keep the resource growing in response to feedback from users and military historians.”
The inaugural ruck-off is named the Cmdr. Ernest Edwin Evans Memorial Trail Ruck March in honor of the first Native American Medal of Honor recipient, and takes place in his hometown of Pawnee.
A Cherokee and Creed Indian, Evans, who lived 1908-1944, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. He gave his life in the line of duty during World war II.
Evans was Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Johnston (DD-557) and died during the Battle off Samar, October 25, 1944.
The march begins at 7 a.m. and participants will be marching on either a 4 or 12 mile trail, with or without a 35 lb. ruck, with a closing ceremony taking place at the Pawnee Lakeside Arena at noon. For more information, or to register for the march, please contact Rep. Burns' legislative assistant, Lacy Skrapka, at
Note Pat McGuigan of The Oklahoma City Sentinel contributed to this report.  

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