A portion of U.S. Highway 64 between Muldrow and Roland was dedicated as the Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, U.S. Army Delta Force, Memorial Highway on Tuesday.
State Rep. John Bennett hosted the sign renaming the highway at the intersection of Cottonwood Road and Highway 64. The dedication was originally set for Jan. 7 but was canceled due to weather. An indoor dedication and reception for family and friends was held at Trinity United Methodist Church in Muldrow.
Master Sgt. Wheeler’s wife and family were present for the unveiling, and the community showed great support, including the Muldrow Police Department, which assisted with the roadside event, Bennett said.
Bennet requested the name change via House Bill 2268 during the 2016 legislative session. He spoke Tuesday at the ceremony.
“Freedom is never free,” said Bennett, R-Sallisaw. “It always costs someone. In this case, Josh Wheeler paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life for his country. His family sacrificed also. I ask that all who pass on this highway live the best life possible. This is the best way we can honor such service and sacrifice that the Wheeler family has given.
“When you pass by these signs, please remember and share with your kids Josh Wheeler’s selfless and ultimate price of freedom. Thank you Master Sergeant Josh Wheeler and the Wheeler Family,” Bennett said.
Joshua L. Wheeler, from Roland, was a U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta Force master sergeant who was killed in Iraq during Operation Inherent Resolve. He was the first American service member killed in action as a result of enemy fire while fighting ISIS militants. At the time of his death, he was the first American to be killed in action in Iraq since November 2011. Wheeler was a highly decorated Delta Force operator having earned 11 Bronze Star Medals including four with Valor Devices. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Wheeler, the father of four, graduated in 1994 from Muldrow High School.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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