POTEAU, Okla. (KFSM) — A ceremony to designate a section of highway for a LeFlore County-native killed in Afghanistan was held Saturday (Nov. 12) in Poteau, Oklahoma.
The U.S. Highway 59 bypass in Poteau, which begins in LeFlore County and connects to Fogel, Arkansas, was named in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Lee Billings.
CW2 Billings and five other soldiers were killed Dec. 17, 2013 while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. Their Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in southern Afghanistan while returning from a reconnaissance mission.
Billings served in the Army for nearly half of his life; he was 34 when he died.
Billings was born in Poteau, lived and attended school in Poteau and Heavener, and graduated from Poteau High School in 1997.
Six days later he enlisted in the Army at the age of 17; his mother had to sign for him because he was still legally a minor.
During his Army career Billings received numerous commendations, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, and several other awards.
He left behind his wife, Ashley Weaver Billings, of Manhattan, Kansas; his father, Robert Billings and step-mother, Sheryl Brown, both of Heavener, Okla.; his step-father, Richard D. Cooper, mother, Eva M. Cooper and half-brother PFC Scotty J. Woodral, all of Poteau, Okla.
Billings was buried in the National Cemetery near Inverness, Fla., on Jan. 4, 2014.