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“Well, I've always thought that all the tribes, the Pawnee tribes and the Cherokees and the Choctaws, Tonkawas, I mean, all the tribes, they just seem to have a greater appreciation towards veterans.” (Audio interview, 47:12)

   Virgil George England
Collection image
Virgil England at time of interview
War: Cold War
Branch: Army
Unit: 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Service Location: Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Arkansas
Rank: E-4
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George England, a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation, grew up attending the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, and utilized the discipline he learned there during his time in the Army. England elected to attend jump school, becoming a paratrooper and served with the 101st Airborne Division. A chance encounter with the bandmaster of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Band gave him the chance to play the clarinet in the band at the National Cherry Blossom Festival and other events around the country from 1955 to 1958. England also notably served with the 101st Airborne forces deployed to maintain order during the desegregation of Central High School in 1957. An active member of the Chilocco Alumni Association in addition to his tribal community post-military life, England continually felt support from his family and his tribal community as a veteran, particularly at a period when other U.S. veterans were overlooked.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Interview with Virgil England (50 mins) 
Download: audio (51 min.)
»Photo Album  (1 photo)
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»Legacies of Service: Celebrating Native Veterans
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Born in Picher, Oklahoma; discussion about his family; life prior to family moving to Chilocco School. (04:11) Parents later begin teaching at Chilocco; his family lives on campus at Chilocco and he attends the school; memories of Chilocco experience; memories of consumer education teacher; post-graduation activities. (04:02) Joining the Army; his family and community were very supportive; father’s surprise visit after he completed basic training. (02:27)
Memory of his first jump; first experience in an air plane; friends made during jump school. (04:24) “I guess the best time I had was when the bandmaster of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, I guess, checked all my records and entry forms and found out I'd played in a band at Chilocco.” (05:52) STOP 31:18 “We was there and didn't think about it, really.” Serving with the 187th Airborne Infantry Division Band; getting to play clarinet at the National Cherry Blossom Festival; part of 101st Airborne forces deployed to maintain order for the Little Rock Nine. (13:03)
Importance of Chilocco School on his life; membership in veterans and Native organizations; Native communities and their continued support of Native Veteran (04:37)  

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  October 26, 2011
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