Salute Our Vets: United States Army Veteran Specialist Jack Austin Jr.

This week on Salute Our Troops, News 12 highlights United States Army Veteran Specialists Jack Austin Jr.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:13 AM CST
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - In the month of November, News 12 is highlighting local Veterans across our area in Salute Our Vets sponsored by Texoma Dentures and Implants. This week News 12 is spotlighting United States Army Veteran Specialist Jack Austin Jr.

Growing up in Hugo Jack Austin Jr. was surrounded by Veterans and active members from his family, going back to having family in the Battle of New Orleans, for Austin Jr. enlisting wasn’t even a question.

“I just had that sense of pride and wanted to give back and so I just went ahead and enlisted and I was 4 years active duty,” Specialist Austin Jr. said.

Austin Jr. enlisted in 1987 and was stationed in Germany and in the 13th Bravo as an artilleryman.

“It certainly gives you a sense of pride and a deeper appreciation of serving your country and others, for me, I’ve been able to reflect a lot about it and just that servant leadership, giving back to your communities, just a lot of pride,” Specialist Austin Jr. said.

He said some of his favorite things about his time in the service were the friendships he formed and being able to learn good leadership qualities.

“I think some of my favorite memories and a lot like other Veterans, I think a lot of our great memories are the friendships we formed, you tend to form a lot of great friendships, but I also think too since I’ve gotten older is the ability to gain knowledge from other cultures,” Specialist Austin Jr. said. “Having been overseas I’ve been able to gain knowledge and just a deeper appreciation of other languages, of other countries, just their various cultures that they have.”

After being honorably discharged in the 90s, he began working at Choctaw Nation and worked through the ranks to where he is now, Assistant Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Austin Jr. volunteers to mentor high schoolers who are interested in enlisting, he also volunteers in the Choctaw Honor Guard, and he was also one of the presenters for the Choctaw Nation Veterans Flag that was announced in 2021.

“Well when we announced it we had obviously several people clapping and standing ovation but you could also see some tears of some of the elder Veterans out there it brought some deep-rooted emotion to them, sure of joy but also sadness to them, but an overwhelming response of gladness,” Specialist Austin Jr. said.

He says the flag continues highlighting Choctaw Veterans and their importance in history.

He said if he could describe the flag in one word it would be “pride”.

“Is there anything that you would have changed during your time? No, if I could serve today I still would and I think if you talk to any Veterans they would as well,” Specialist Austin Jr. said.