Members of the Oklahoma National Guard and firefighters in Shawnee mourn the loss of Chief Warrant Officer 5 James Doyle Roberts for his many years of dedicated service in both organizations.

"The passing of Chief Roberts is devastating not just for the Oklahoma National Guard community, but also those who served with him in Washington, D.C. and the many firefighters he worked with in Shawnee during his 21-year career," said Brig. Gen. Louis W. Wilham, adjutant general for Oklahoma. "Not many have reached the status he did. Chief Roberts retired as a Fire Chief and was going to retire next year having served the military for more than 40 years."

Roberts died in a car accident last Friday, while traveling on I-40 in Midwest City.

Roberts joined the Army on November 26, 1975, and served four years enlisted on Active Duty with assignments in West Germany and Fort Polk, Louisiana. He joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard on June 26, 1986, and achieved the rank of Master Sergeant in 1993. He was appointed as a Warrant Officer on March 21, 1997.

During his time in the Oklahoma National Guard, he held positions in Recruiting and Retention Command, National Guard Bureau, Army Human Resources Command, and the Pentagon. Most recently, Roberts served as the OKARNG G1-Personnel Operations Chief and General Officer Personnel Manager at the Joint Force Headquarters. In 2005, he deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Roberts was the recipient of many distinguishing awards, to include the Legion of Merit in 2015 and the Oklahoma Distinguished Service Medal in 2017.

In addition to his military service, Roberts was appointed as the Shawnee Fire Chief on June 20, 1994. During his tenure as Fire Chief he instituted a number of modernization changes, incorporating lessons from his military service such, as the physical fitness test. He retired from the Shawnee Fire Department on August 31, 2001.

Memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August, 31, 2017 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, 1700 W. Independence Street in Shawnee.