Tulsa Highway Dedicated To The City's Only Medal Of Honor Recipient

Saturday, August 24th 2013, 7:09 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa's only Medal of Honor recipient was honored Saturday when a stretch of Highway 11 in Tulsa was dedicated in his honor. 

Marine Private First Class Albert Schwab was remembered for his heroics which cost him his life in the South Pacific during World War II.

The Marine Corps League gathered at Tulsa's VFW post Saturday to remember Schwab, a Tulsa Central High graduate.

The Marines were united in their service for country, the flag and a name they bear on their hats, honoring Schwab's sacrifice on the sands of Okinawa in 1945.

"It's a big, big deal to us," said VFW Post 577 commander and Vietnam Veteran J. Guymon.

Guymon was among those who helped get Highway 11 dedicated to the family of Albert Schwab.

"It's our greatest treasure, our medal of honor recipients," said J. Guymon.

He says the highway between Highway 75 and I-244 was dedicated because it is located next to Tulsa International Airport, where in 2008; the airport's main terminal building was named in Schwab's honor. In 2011, a statue was erected at the airport, depicting the final goodbye between Schwab and his sister before he left for the South Pacific.

"Can't imagine what it was like," said Schwab's nephew, Jim Carlson.

Carlson knows the story of his uncle and the events following that final farewell.

"Grew up with it, been looking at the same black and white photo on mom's book shelf for 45 years," said Jim Carlson.

"May 7th, 1945, quick to take action when his company was penned down," said J. Guymon.

On that day Schwab advanced up a cliff in the face of enemy fire, armed only with his flame-thrower. President Harry Truman stated in a letter, "bold deviance of the intense barrage" Schwab demolished a hostile machine gun position. Suddenly, a second machine gun opened fire killing or wounding several Marines, Schwab elected to continue his one man assault. He was fatally wounded, but not before he destroyed the second enemy position, allowing his company to advance.

"It's hard to read it, to tell you the truth," said J. Guymon.

For veterans like Guymon and Schwab's family the road signs will always hold a special place in their heart.

"It's tremendous, it's absolutely tremendous," said Jim Carlson.

But Saturday is about far more than a stretch of asphalt.

"That constant reminder that these are the real heroes, not some movie star or a ballplayer or whatever, but these are the true American heroes that we need to remember," said J. Guymon.

Schwab's family was presented a small version of the highway signs at the ceremony.