Family Remembers Decorated Broken Arrow Vietnam Veteran After His Death

Major Hank Miesner, Jr. is one of Broken Arrow's most decorated veterans. He's earned two bronze stars, one silver star, a Combat Infantryman Badge, four Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and a host of other service medals, honors, and awards.

Thursday, November 9th 2023, 8:28 pm



As we get closer to Veterans Day, one family is remembering a very special Vietnam Veteran, Major Hank Miesner, Jr. 

Even though it's been 20 years since he passed away, they still tear up and get a lump in their throats when they think of his service.

He's one of Broken Arrow's most decorated veterans. He's earned two bronze stars, one silver star, a Combat Infantryman Badge, four Air Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and a host of other service medals, honors, and awards.

It's been more than half a century, but Kathy Bronky still remembers the day her dad left for the battlefield.

"They say you don't have a good memory of these kinds of things when you're young, but I remember going and bawling my eyes out and thinking I may not see him again," Kathy, Hank Miesner's daughter, said.

His son, Bill, remembers his dad leaving for both of Hank's Vietnam tours.

"I remember both years he was gone. Seeing on the news every night, you know, the footage over there. Always being concerned if he's going to make it back," he said.

Hank is the oldest of five siblings. His younger sister, Sue Burton-Miesner, says Hank Miesner always felt called to serve his country. 

"He has always been a warrior, has always been our great protector," Sue said.

During the summer of his senior year, Miesner joined the Coast Guard reserves. 

Hank is a 1957 graduate of Broken Arrow High School. He earned a BS and MS degree from Oklahoma State University. He also served with the Tulsa Police Department for a short time.

After high school, Miesner joined the Marines as a teenager and was sent 8,000 miles from home to Vietnam.

After four years as a marine, he joined the army as a paratrooper in the 101st airborne, an elite division specializing in air attacks.

Miesner served two combat tours in Vietnam, earning two bronze stars and a silver star. But like many veterans, once he returned home, he didn't talk much to his family about the war.

"When he came back, we didn't know him as a war hero; we knew him as our dad," Kathy said. "I did not find out about a lot about these awards until he was sick and had passed, which shouldn't have surprised anyone that knew my dad well because he was so humble."

That humble hero is forever memorialized with this statue at Broken Arrow's Veteran Park.

"For somebody that worked with you on a goal to fight for your country to put your likeness up as representative of everybody that served doing the same thing is just so humbling," Kathy said.

The tribute is meaningful to his family because Hank wouldn't want it.

"I don't know if he thinks of himself as a hero," Bill said. "I think he just did what he thought was best and right."

As the family prepares to observe Veterans Day, they read from a letter from one of the men who knew Hank.

"Those of us who were lucky enough to serve under Hank in Vietnam spent a lifetime drawing on the lessons we learned from him. Lessons not only in the military arts, of which he was a master, but lessons in the love of country and family, and the recognition of a supreme being who is the overall commander and whose orders are final," Gary McCormick had written.

Hank passed away in 2003. He is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetary. 

There is also a Bronze statue dedicated to Hank in North Platte at Nebraska's 20th Century Veterans Memorial; he represents the army. 

Hank has a grandson, Jacob, who served in the Military. He is survived by Bill Miesner and Kathryn Bronkey; 4 grandchildren, Sarene and Sierra Bronkey, Brandy and Jacob Miesner; sisters Ann Ogle, Sue Burton, and Eve Bradsher: and his brother Jim.

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News 9 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

November 9th, 2023

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

Top Headlines

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024