CONTACT:    Steve Tripp

                        (602) 307-9504





PRESCOTT, Ariz. (November 8, 2002) – The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe kicked off the three-day Veteran’s Day Weekend today by hosting a special luncheon honoring veterans for their service in the United States Military. The luncheon was held at the Community Gathering Center this afternoon on the Reservation.

Retired Air Force veteran and former POW, Colonel Ronald E. Byrne, Jr., was the featured speaker. Byrne served as a fighter pilot in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. His military career began in 1951 and continued for more than 25 years until his retirement in 1977. Byrne received numerous decorations and awards, including the Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze star with Combat “V,” the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat “V” and Oak Leaf Cluster and the Combat Readiness Medal.

“We are grateful for all of the country’s veterans. This luncheon is our small way of thanking them for their service,” said Ernie Jones, Sr., President of the Tribe. “It is because of their service that we as Americans continue to enjoy our freedoms.”

Approximately 50 veterans from all four branches of the military were in attendance at the luncheon, including __ tribal members. The Tribe also hosted individuals recuperating at the VA Hospital at the luncheon. Tribal president Ernie Jones, Sr., himself a Vietnam veteran, welcomed the guests with opening remarks and Gary Swigart, the Tribe’s personnel manager and a retired Air Force colonel, led the guests in the pledge of allegiance.

Located adjacent to the central Arizona community of Prescott, approximately one hour north of Phoenix, the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe consists of 160 members and occupies a reservation of 1,395 acres.

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