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Marker dedicated to Sterling man

Veterans of the division artillery elements that supported 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam gathered in Fort Sill’s Artillery Park Friday to dedicate a marker in memory of the late Ira Whitaker of Sterling.

Whitaker, who died Feb. 4, 2017, was the recipient of a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the 1968 firefight at Fire Support Base Rita. He was then serving as command sergeant major of 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery (FA). His widow, Wanda, who ran Wanda’s Cafés in Elgin and Sterling for many years, attended the ceremony and posed for pictures in front of the M109 Paladin howitzer that her husband defended during that action.

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