This week's book giveaway is in the OCMJEA forum. We're giving away four copies of OCM Java EE 6 Enterprise Architect Exam Guide and have Paul Allen & Joseph Bambara on-line! See this thread for details.
Joseph, Why not store the data as a date in the database and format it on retrieval? This would let you store it (and sort it) as a date. You could use an Oracle function to format it in the query or SimpleDateFormat after pulling it to Java. The Oracle function to_char is described here.