Photo provided by LaVerna Williams

Colonel Oaks honored at retirement celebration with Prestigious Patriot of the Month certificate

During Colonel Crockett W. Oaks, III’s retirement celebration held at the West Plains Armory on Saturday, July 23, he was presented the Patriot of the Month (July) certificate by the Ozark Spring, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in recognition of his outstanding patriotic service to his country.
Crockett W. Oaks, III enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in November of 1988 at St. Louis, Missouri. He attended basic training at Fort Polk in Louisiana, then was commissioned at Kemper Military School & College in Boonville, MO, as a second lieutenant in the Army. He was in the Oklahoma National Guard stationed in Ponca City, OK. 
After that he entered the U.S. Army Reserve where he was stationed in a variety of locations including Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Houston, Texas, Waikiki, Hawaii, Stuttgart, Germany, Nigeria, Ukraine, South Korea, as well as many other cities in the United States. On August 1, 2022, Oak’s will retire as a Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve after 34 years of service. 
Oaks received an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree from Kemper Military School & College in Boonville. He received a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond in 1993 and 1996. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University in Houston, TX, in 2004. 
During Oak’s time in the service, he served as an Adjutant General (AG), held command positions, served as an instructor, and worked in various embassies around the world. He said the most interesting time for him was when he had the opportunity to meet and train Ukrainian Forces during his time as Deputy Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation, especially with what is going on in the world today. He received two Meritorious Service Awards, four Army Commendation Medals, Overseas Training Ribbons, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal, to name a few. Alongside his military service, Crockett has held many civilian jobs. He was a D.A.R.E. Certified Police Officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department. He was employed as a Special Agent with the FBI for approximately seven years, specializing in white collar crime matters. For 13 years he worked with Shell Oil Company, rising to the ranks of senior security executive for the Western Hemisphere. He also served 18 months as a state probation and parole officer and two years as deputy chief and chief investigator for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. He currently serves as the Director of Business and Support Services at Missouri State University-West Plains.
Oaks noted that the best piece of advice he received during his years in the military was “You are the best manager of your career. Do not entrust management of your career to anyone else.” He said what he will miss the most when he retires is the comradery with Soldiers. He stated that “if he had to do it all over again, he would!” 
Oaks married Tonya Latrice Arnold on July 12, 1993; she is also an Army veteran. They have three children, Christopher, Crockett IV, and Ariel. Two of his children also served in the Army. His father, Crockett Oaks Jr., retired as a Staff Sergeant/E-6 from the Missouri Army National Guard after 24 years of service and retired from the Missouri Department of Transportation. His mother, Juanita Oaks is retired from the International Shoe Company and Arlee’s Home Fashion. Oak’s Grandfather, Jerome Bates,  is a WWII veteran who received a Bronze Star. His brother, Dr. Gary Bates and his wife, Alisha, are also both Navy veterans. Needless to say, military service is a big part of Oaks’ family’s life. 
Colonel Oak’s is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is board president of Christos House, Inc., and board vice president of the West Plains Council on the Arts. He is a member of the advisory board for the Ozarks Heritage Resource Center. Crockett is also a member of the West Plains Planning and Zoning Committee and the Downtown Economic Development Committee.
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