Fallen Heroes Honored in Lawton
Three fallen heroes of Lawton were honored Saturday, as family and friends of 1st Lt. Brandon Landrum, Sgt. Travis Tompkins, and Spc. Charles Jirtle gathered at the MacArthur High School Library in Lawton to celebrate the renaming of three stretches of Oklahoma Highway 65 in Comanche County. The family of each soldier was presented with a citation memorializing their soldier, a state flag that flown over the State Capitol and a replica of the highway signs that commemorate the soldiers two mile stretch of highway.
State Representative Ann Coody, a former principal at MacArthur High School, helped to make the tributes a reality, driving the bill through the State House and Senate and getting the three stretches of highway renamed.
Each family was presented a copy of the citation memorializing their soldier, an Oklahoma flag that had flown over the State Capitol and a replica of the signs that have been placed on the three two-mile stretches of Oklahoma 65 that will bear the soldiers' names.
Immediate family members of each of the three soldiers being honored stood in turn, and the parents of the three men introduced those who had come to honor the fallen warriors. As he made the presentation to the Landrum family, State representative John Michael Montgomery (R-Lawton) shared his recollections of the Lieutenant, who he served with while members of the Cameron University ROTC program.
Making the presentation to the Landrum family was state Rep. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, who shared his recollections of the lieutenant from the year that they were in the Cameron University ROTC program together. Landrum graduated from MacArthur high in 2005, and from Cameron University in 2011, both with honors. Landrum originally deployed to Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army in 2008, then again deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, earning the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and numerous other commendations during his service in Operation Enduring Freedom. Landrum was killed in the line of duty in the Maiwand District of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, May 4, 2013. His stretch of Highway 65 will run from Cache road to Townley road from north to east Lawton.
Specialist Charles "Scott" Jirtle was remembered by MacArthur High School Principal Rod Elam as "fairly rambunctious", with a good attitude and great sense of humor. Jirtle, who was from a military family, was remembered by Coody, another former MacArthur principal, as full of fun, well liked and tender. Jirtle, a 1999 graduate of MacArthur High, joined the army in 2007, and served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, earning numerous commendations during his career. He was killed in the line of duty June 7, 2010, in the Dangam District of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. State Senator Don Barrington (R-Lawton) made the presentation to Jirtle's family. The stretch of Highway 65 from Oklahoma 7 to Coombs rd was renamed in Jirlte's honor.
Coody also shared remembrances of Sergeant Travis Thompkins, who worked closely with her during his time at MacArthur High. Known as "Tiny" due to being taller than average, Thompkins was remembered for his smile, big personality and his energy. Thompkins was a military police officer with the 10th Mountain Division. He will killed in action March 16, 2011. He was on his second tour of duty after spending 2001 to 2004 in Saudi Arabia. The stretch of highway between Cache rd. and Oklahoma 7 was renamed in his honor. Coody made the presentation to his family.