MAJOR JERRY P. ORR

Dec 27, 1934 - October 11, 2021


Funeral service for LTC (Retired) Jerry P. Orr will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, October 18, 2021 in First Baptist Church with Rev. Tony Christie, Associate Pastor officiating.

Burial with full military honors will follow in Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin, under direction of Becker-Rabon Funeral Home. The family will greet friends from 3-5 pm Sunday at the funeral home.  The service may viewed  by following the Livestream link at FBCLawton/Livestream.

LTC (Retired) Jerry P. Orr died Monday, October 11, 2021 in an Oklahoma City Hospital. Jerry was almost a Christmas present for his parents Ike and Virginia Orr, as he was born Dec. 27, 1934. He was born in Shreveport, La., and attended school from elementary through college there. Jerry’s parents divorced when he was about five or six years old and he was raised by his aunt, Carolyn Ellis. At C. E. Byrd High School, Orr enjoyed playing football and baseball. In college, he played junior varsity basketball. Orr was one of 21 seniors in the Army ROTC battalion at Centenary College to receive a commission at the final review ceremony.

After graduating college in 1957, Orr was sent to Fort Sill for training in the field artillery officer basic course (FAOBC). In 1958, he was deployed to Korea and served as a platoon leader and forward observer with the 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery. His battalion was positioned in the DMZ, which was a fortified buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea. When Orr returned to Fort Sill after his tour in Korea, he was assigned to the 1st Missile Brigade and commanded a battery.

Back at Fort Sill, Orr began dating a remarkable lady from Lawton, Jean Shanklin, and was married on Sept. 14, 1963.

After returning from South Korea and before marrying Jean, Orr served as an Aide-De-Camp to Major General Bert Spivey. He then came back to Oklahoma to command a Little John artillery rocket unit at Fort Sill. In 1963, the year he was married, he deployed to Germany as a Battery Commander with a Pershing Missile Battalion. Jean and Jerry were blessed with two kids, Stacey in 1964 and Patrick in 1966.

In 1968, Orr was sent to Vietnam after completing the Advanced Field Artillery Course (FAOAC) and served as the Battalion Operations Officer and interim Battalion Commander. He served with the 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery in the A Shau Valley. While there he was wounded twice, receiving shrapnel in a leg and also shrapnel in an arm He was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for saving a life in combat and also received two Bronze Stars for Valor and two Purple Hearts.

Orr served a year in Vietnam before returning to Oklahoma in 1969. His military career didn’t end after Vietnam. He went to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and graduated from the Command and General Staff College and also served at the Pentagon in a research and development office. Orr was heavily involved in his son’s Boy Scout activities and thought he needed to do the same thing for his daughter. So, while in Washington, D.C., he volunteered with several ladies to be a Girl Scout Troop leader. In 1979, after being stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, Orr returned to Fort Sill to retire.

Trying to switch gears into a new career was a little challenging for Orr after the military. He went to work as a stockbroker with Paine Webber. He then went into partnership on the Chi-Chi’s restaurant in Lawton and managed it for about two years. He and Jean then went to Colorado for about eight years and tried another partnership in a business for about three years. Orr began working with the Boy Scouts in Colorado and found his niche. After seven years working with the organization, the Orr’s moved back to Lawton and he began working as a District Executive with the Last Frontier Council Black Beaver District. Orr served on numerous boards and committees and has received numerous honors and citations. Even a conference room at Fort Sill was renamed in his honor and is referred to as the “Orr Room” instead of the “War Room.”

His medals include The Soldiers Medal, two Bronze Star Medals with “V”, two Purple Hearts, three Meritorious Medals, eight Air Medals and an Army Commendation Medal. A 2018 handout at the Annual Jerry Orr Character Counts Friends of Scouting Banquet noted that Orr’s dedication to the community is famous. “He is a Lawton institution. With over 60 years of service to his family, his uniform and his country.”

Jerry is survived by his daughter, Stacey Bond and son, Patrick Orr and wife Kathy, all of Oklahoma City; four grandsons, Keenan Bond, Braiden Bond and wife Anaely, Brian Orr and Jeremy Orr; two great granddaughters, Joey Nicole Bond and Jensyn Leigh Bond; an honorary son, Waheed Gbadamosi, Lawton; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Ann and Mickey Miller and Claudia and Mike Allday, all of Mississippi; several nieces and nephews; and his dear friend, Barbara Moeller.

Jean preceded him in death on January 28, 2010. At the time of Jean’s passing, they had been married for 47 years.

His parents and son-in-law, Kevin Bond, also preceded him in death.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jean and Jerry Orr Endowed Scholarship in Athletics at Cameron University. https://www.cameron.edu/foundation/endowed/scholarships/jean-jerry-orr

 

TRIBUTES TO JERRY ORR:

A LEADER WHO LOVED HIS MEN

After attending his very first reunion with the 35th Infantry Regiment that included all the men of the 2/9th who accepted the invitation, Jerry was absolutely overwhelmed with the re-acquaintance of the many men he served with at the Battalion S-3 in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) in Vietnam.  Jerry fondly remembered FO Lt Mike Kurtgis and John "Moon" Mullins and many others from the 2/9th Field Artillery battalion.  Jerry attended many of the future 35th reunions to meet his fellow artillerymen.

It was the brotherhood and camaraderie that was so greatly enhanced by having reunions with the 35th, Jerry wanted to pursue a reunion at Ft Sill, OK for the 2/9th Battalion, with an invitation to the President of the 35th Regiment. (Each 35th President accepted and attended those three (3) reunions).  Jerry's first stop was to the CG of Ft Sill, Ok who was open to the idea of a 2/9th Reunion.  Thus, Jerry began the very large task of finding housing, transportation, a 3-day agenda, and activities for the spouses.  Each Ft Sill reunion was a huge success and a very fond memory for all.

For all his life's accomplishments, Jerry Orr was truly a "larger than life" personality.  May he rest in peace in his heavenly home.  We all know he is there!

Dennis Dauphin
Webmaster, www.themightyninth.org

MY TIME WITH MAJOR ORR, AN EXEMPLARY OFFICER  

Arriving Vietnam in July 1968, I was assigned to "B" Battery, 2/9th Field Artillery, and then further attached to "B" Company 2/35th Infantry, "B" Company.  After about 5 months (including two months hospital and recovery),  I was assigned to 4th Division Artillery Headquarters (DivArty) and was to be an Aerial Observer (AO) for 3rd Infantry Brigade based at Fire Base Oasis in the  Central Highlands, Vietnam.  As such, I was provided with a pilot and helicopter for four hours per day, 7 days a week, to provide Artillery fire support to Units on the ground engaged with the enemy and other military targets.  I was to be supported by the 2/9th Artillery Battalion based at Fire Base Oasis (the Oasis) for my living quarters and subsistence. I did not have to report or answer to the 2/9th Bn as I was no longer assigned to them. However the Lt. Col. who was the BnCo  at the time had other ideas. Being a Lt. I felt I had to obey my superiors orders (intimidating) and he assigned me  “Additional” duties away from the Oasis thereby commandeering my helicopter for his own use. Needless to say my boss (DivArty Cmdr,  a Full Bird Colonel) found out about it and the  heads rolled including mine!   

I was in the Battalion TOC (Tactical Operations Center) getting dressed down by the DivArty Cmdr over the radio and, of course, everyone present in the TOC could hear my side of the conversation.  In stepped Major Orr and he took me aside calmed me down and told me not to worry about the 2/9th Bn Cmdr, as he was wrong to interfere with my duties and responsibilities and that the he would watch out for me. 

That was my introduction to Maj. Jerry Orr, and he was good as his word. During the next 7 months that we were together, it was an honor to work with him on many projects and to get to know him on and off duty. He was the best Officer I served with and I saw first hand how he mentored his fellow subordinates and solders including me. He was fearless in action and always leading from the front. Shortly after I first met him he asked me if I would be the Battalion's FO for  nighttime defense at  the Oasis. Since I was  never assigned missions at night I agreed to become the nighttime FO because he asked. There were many times I would get called out at night whether it was movement on the wire or a perimeter probe or a LRRP team in trouble (Long Range Recon Patrol) that needed artillery fire suppression and even suspected Russian helicopters coming across the Border from Cambodia. Also, the perimeter breach on the night of the Mother’s Day 1969 attack on the Oasis, Maj Orr was always there commanding, directing and encouraging. He was an exemplary Officer.   General Omar Bradley WWII was known as the "Soldiers General" because of the concern he showed his men. I always thought of Major Jerry Orr as that way, a Soldiers Officer, for he cared about his men. His legacy lives on today in the hearts and minds of all his fellow Officers and men that served with him and that is only the Vietnam Vets that I know. There are so many others that Lt Col Jerry Orr touched throughout his illustrious military career and his civilian contributions as mentioned in his Obituary above. I am sure He is missed but forever in our hearts.

Rest well Lt Col Jerry Orr, you fought the good fight.

 

Lt. Michael P Kurtgis
Forward Observer, Air Observer

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