By REP. JAMES LOCKHART
Staff Sergeant Billy Elliott was a member of the US Army’s 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division and resident of Heavener. SSGT Elliott was killed in action in November of 1965 during the Vietnam War in the battle of La Drang.
The two-part battle took place between Nov.14-18, 1965, at two landing zones northwest of Plei Me in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.
The battle is well documented in the critically acclaimed film We Were Soldiers as well as the book We Were Soldiers Once….And Young, by Harold Moore, who was the commanding officer in the battle. Although many notable decorations have been awarded to veterans of the Battle of Ia Drang, in his book Harold Moore wrote:
“We had problems on the awards… Too many men had died bravely and heroically, while the men who had witnessed their deeds had also been killed… Acts of valor that, on other fields, on other days, would have been rewarded with the Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross or a Silver Starwere recognized only with a telegram saying, ‘The Secretary of the Army regrets…’ The same was true of our sister battalion, the 2nd of the 7th.”
Elliott was known as someone who always stood proud and was, as described by someone who knew him “as one who did not fail to support the men he was fighting with.”
He is loved by his surviving family. I visited with Dale Elliott, who is Billy’s brother. Dale told me that Billy was like so many of us, in that he liked to hunt and fish and he loved LeFlore County. “He was just a good person, said Dale.”
I have known the Elliott family all my life and I am extremely humbled to name a portion of Highway 59 from the south edge of Heavener to the Poteau River Bridge after Billy Elliott.
This past weekend was youth deer season. As I sat in the woods with my daughter, I couldn’t help but think of Billy Elliott and how many deer seasons he has missed. I am truly grateful for the sacrifice he, along with so many other veterans, have made.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your state representative. If I can be of assistance please call me at home 918-653-7571 or at my office 405-557-7413 or find me on facebook.