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American Indian Medal of Honor Recipients

Nineteench Century~Throughout history, American Indians have been among those soldiers to be distinguished by receiving the United States' highest military honor: the Medal of Honor. Given for military heroism "above and beyond the call of duty," these warriors exhibited extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy and, in many cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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LT. JACK CLEVELAND MONTGOMERY

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Rank and organization: First Lieutenant,

US Army, 45th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near, Padiglione, Italy, 22 February 1944.

Entered service at: Sallisaw, Okla. Birth: Long, Okla. G.O. No.: 5, 15 January 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 22 February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy. Two hours before daybreak a strong force of enemy infantry established themselves in 3 echelons at 50 yards, 100 yards, and 300 yards, respectively, in front of the rifle platoons commanded by 1st Lt. Montgomery. The closest position, consisting of 4 machineguns and 1 mortar, threatened the immediate security of the platoon position. Seizing an Ml rifle and several hand grenades, 1st Lt. Montgomery crawled up a ditch to within hand grenade range of the enemy. Then climbing boldly onto a little mound, he fired his rifle and threw his grenades so accurately that he killed 8 of the enemy and captured the remaining 4. Returning to his platoon, he called for artillery fire on a house, in and around which he suspected that the majority of the enemy had entrenched themselves. Arming himself with a carbine, he proceeded along the shallow ditch, as withering fire from the riflemen and machinegunners in the second position was concentrated on him. He attacked this position with such fury that 7 of the enemy surrendered to him, and both machineguns were silenced. Three German dead were found in the vicinity later that morning. 1st Lt. Montgomery continued boldly toward the house, 300 yards from his platoon position. It was now daylight, and the enemy observation was excellent across the flat open terrain which led to 1st Lt. Montgomery's objective. When the artillery barrage had lifted, 1st Lt. Montgomery ran fearlessly toward the strongly defended position. As the enemy started streaming out of the house, 1st Lt. Montgomery, unafraid of treacherous snipers, exposed himself daringly to assemble the surrendering enemy and send them to the rear. His fearless, aggressive, and intrepid actions that morning, accounted for a total of 11 enemy dead, 32 prisoners, and an unknown number of wounded. That night, while aiding an adjacent unit to repulse a counterattack, he was struck by mortar fragments and seriously wounded. The selflessness and courage exhibited by 1st Lt. Montgomery in alone attacking 3 strong enemy positions inspired his men to a degree beyond estimation.

Birth: 1917
Oklahoma, USA

Death:  Jun. 11, 2002
Muskogee County
Oklahoma, USA

BURIED: Fort Gibson National Cemetery
Fort Gibson
Muskogee County
Oklahoma

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LT. ERNEST CHILDERS (CHIEF)

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Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant,

US Army, 45th Infantry Division.

Place and date: At Oliveto, Italy, 22 September 1943.

Entered service at: Tulsa, Okla. Birth: Broken Arrow, Okla. G.O. No.: 30, 8 April 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action on 22 September 1943, at Oliveto, Italy. Although 2d Lt. Childers previously had just suffered a fractured instep he, with 8 enlisted men, advanced up a hill toward enemy machinegun nests. The group advanced to a rock wall overlooking a cornfield and 2d Lt. Childers ordered a base of fire laid across the field so that he could advance. When he was fired upon by 2 enemy snipers from a nearby house he killed both of them. He moved behind the machinegun nests and killed all occupants of the nearer one. He continued toward the second one and threw rocks into it. When the 2 occupants of the nest raised up, he shot 1. The other was killed by 1 of the 8 enlisted men. 2d Lt. Childers continued his advance toward a house farther up the hill, and single-handed, captured an enemy mortar observer. The exceptional leadership, initiative, calmness under fire, and conspicuous gallantry displayed by 2d Lt. Childers were an inspiration to his men.

Birth: Feb. 1, 1918Death: 

Mar. 17, 2005

BURIED: Floral Haven Memorial Gardens
Broken Arrow
Tulsa County
Oklahoma, USA
Plot: Veterans Field of Honor

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LT. VAN T. BARFOOT

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Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant,

US Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 23 May 1944.

Entered service at: Carthage, Miss. Birth: Edinburg, Miss. G.O. No.: 79, 4 October 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.

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COMMANDER ERNEST EDWIN EVANS

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Rank and organization:

Commander, US Navy.

Born: 13 August 1908, Pawnee, Okla.

Accredited to: Oklahoma.

Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Bronze Star Medal. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Johnston in action against major units of the enemy Japanese fleet during the battle off Samar on 25 October 1944. The first to lay a smokescreen and to open fire as an enemy task force, vastly superior in number, firepower and armor, rapidly approached. Comdr. Evans gallantly diverted the powerful blasts of hostile guns from the lightly armed and armored carriers under his protection, launching the first torpedo attack when the Johnston came under straddling Japanese shellfire. Undaunted by damage sustained under the terrific volume of fire, he unhesitatingly joined others of his group to provide fire support during subsequent torpedo attacks against the Japanese and, outshooting and outmaneuvering the enemy as he consistently interposed his vessel between the hostile fleet units and our carriers despite the crippling loss of engine power and communications with steering aft, shifted command to the fantail, shouted steering orders through an open hatch to men turning the rudder by hand and battled furiously until the Johnston, burning and shuddering from a mortal blow, lay dead in the water after 3 hours of fierce combat. Seriously wounded early in the engagement, Comdr. Evans, by his indomitable courage and brilliant professional skill, aided materially in turning back the enemy during a critical phase of the action. His valiant fighting spirit throughout this historic battle will venture as an inspiration to all who served with him.

Birth: Aug. 13, 1908Death: 

Oct. 24, 1944

BURIED: LOST AT SEA

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PVT. JOHN N. REESE JR.

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Rank and organization:

Private First Class, US Army, Company B, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Paco Railroad Station, Manila, Philippine Islands. 9 February 1945.

Entered service at: Pryor, Okla. Birth. Muskogee, Okla. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation. He was engaged in the attack on the Paco Railroad Station, which was strongly defended by 300 determined enemy soldiers with machineguns and rifles, supported by several pillboxes, 3 20mm. guns, 1 37-mm. gun and heavy mortars. While making a frontal assault across an open field, his platoon was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire. On his own initiative he left the platoon accompanied by a comrade, and continued forward to a house 60 yards from the objective. Although under constant enemy observation, the 2 men remained in this position for an hour, firing at targets of opportunity, killing more than 35 Japanese and wounding many more. Moving closer to the station and discovering a group of Japanese replacements attempting to reach pillboxes, they opened heavy fire, killed more than 40 and stopped all subsequent attempts to man the emplacements. Enemy fire became more intense as they advanced to within 20 yards of the station. From that point Pfc. Reese provided effective covering fire and courageously drew enemy fire to himself while his companion killed 7 Japanese and destroyed a 20-mm. gun and heavy machinegun with handgrenades. With their ammunition running low, the 2 men started to return to the American lines, alternately providing covering fire for each other as they withdrew. During this movement, Pfc. Reese was killed by enemy fire as he reloaded his rifle. The intrepid team, in 21/2 hours of fierce fighting, killed more than 82 Japanese, completely disorganized their defense and paved the way for subsequent complete defeat of the enemy at this strong point. By his gallant determination in the face of tremendous odds, aggressive fighting spirit, and extreme heroism at the cost of his life, Pfc. Reese materially aided the advance of our troops in Manila and providing a lasting inspiration to all those with whom he served.

Birth: Jun. 13, 1923Death: 

Feb. 9, 1945

BURIED: Fort Gibson National Cemetery
Fort Gibson
Muskogee County
Oklahoma, USA
Plot: Section 2, Grave 1259

-E

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Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. ~KIA~

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A Winnebago from Wisconsin, and a Corporal in Company E., 19th Infantry Regiment in Korea. On 5 November 1950, Red Cloud was on a ridge guarding his company command post when he was surprised by Chinese communist forces. He sounded the alarm and stayed in his position firing his automatic rifle and point-blank to check the assault. This gave his company time to consolidate their defenses. After being severely wounded by enemy fire, he refused assistance and continued firing upon the enemy until he was fatally wounded. His heroic action prevented the enemy from overrunning his company's position and gained time for evacuation of the wounded.

From his position on the point of a ridge immediately in front of the company command post Corporal Red Cloud was the first to detect the approach of the Chinese Communist forces and give the alarm as the enemy charged from a brush-covered area less than 100 feet from him. Springing up he delivered devastating pointblank automatic rifle fire into the advancing enemy. His accurate and intense fire checked this assault and gained time for the company to consolidate its defense. With utter fearlessness he maintained his firing position until severely wounded by enemy fire. Refusing assistance he pulled himself to his feet and wrapping his arm around a tree continued his deadly fire again, until he was fatally wounded. This heroic act stopped the enemy from overrunning his company's position and gained time for reorganization and evacuation of the wounded.

Birth: Jul. 2, 1924

Death:  Nov. 5, 1950

Buried: Decorah Cemetery
Black River Falls
Jackson County
Wisconsin

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CHARLES GEORGE

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A Cherokee from North Carolina, and Private First Class in Korea when he was killed on 30 November 1952. During battle, George threw himself upon a grenade and smothered it with his body. In doing so, he sacrificed his own life but saved the lives of his comrades. For this brave and selfless act, George was posthumously award the Medal of Honor in 1954.

Korean War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He was killed in action. He served as a Private First Class in the United States Army in Company C, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for action on November 30, 1952 at Songnae-dong, Korea. His citation reads in part "While in the process of leaving the trenches a hostile soldier hurled a grenade into their midst. Pfc. George shouted a warning to one comrade, pushed the soldier out of danger, and, with full knowledge of the consequences, unhesitatingly threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion. Although seriously wounded in this display of valor, he refrained from any outcry which would divulge the position of his companions. The two soldiers evacuated him to the forward aid station and shortly thereafter he succumbed to his wound."

Birth: Aug. 23, 1932

Death:  Nov. 30, 1952

BURIED: Yellow Hill
Cherokee
Swain County
North Carolina

 

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MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

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The Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress, 12 July 1862 (amended by Act of 9 July 1918 and Act of 25 July 1963) is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of The United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which The United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of service is exacted and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
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CAPT. RAYMOND HARVEY

Captain Harvey, a Chickasaw, was commanding officer of Co. C, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division during the Korean War.

When Harvey's company as pinned down by automatic weapons fire from several well-entrenched emplacements, he braved bullets and grenades to advance to the first Norht Korean machine gun nest and killed its crew with grenades. Rushing to the edge of the next emplacement, he killed its crew with carbine fire. Captain Harvey then moved the 1st Platoon forward, but it was again stopped by automatic weapons. Disregarding the hail of fire, he charged and destroyed a third emplacement. Miraculously Harvey continued to lead the assult through the intense crossfire. After spotting a well-camouflaged enemy pillbox, he moved close enough to sweep the emplacmeent with carbine fire and throw grenades through the openings killing its five occupants. Though wounded and in agonizing pain, he ordered his company forward and continued to direct the attack on the remaining hostile positions. Harvey refused evalucation until assured that the mission would be accomplished.

 

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SGT. WILLIAM STEWART

William Stewart. Sergeant First Class Stewart, a Crow, was wounded during the battle for Christmas Hill (Korea) and also saw action with the 45th Infantry Division.
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PVT. JEROME ADAMS

Jerome Adams. Private First Class Adams, a Devil's Lake Sioux, served with the Army's 2nd Infantry Divsion in Korea and was evacuted after receiving gunshot wounds in th back, chest and arms and also shrapenl wounds in both legs.
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Douglas Hancock Cooper (November 1, 1815 - April 29, 1879)

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Born in Mississippi in 1815, Douglas Hancock Cooper had fought in the Mexican War and was the U.S. agent to the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian tribes from 1853 until the start of the Civil War. Since he wielded a great deal of influence with the "Five Civilized Tribes", Cooper was authorized by the Confederate War Department in 1861 to seek military alliances with the tribes. Cooper raised the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles and served as their colonel. In the fall of 1861 Colonel Cooper tried to sway the chief of the Creek tribe to become an ally of the Confederacy. When the chief refused, Cooper collected forces to attack. In November and December of 1861 Cooper and his mostly white troops fought the Creeks, who sided with the Union in the battles of Chusto-Talasah and Chustenahlah, and forced the Creeks into Kansas for the winter. But 5,000 Union troops massed in July 1862 and drove the Rebels out of the Indian territory north of the Arkansas River.

In September 1862 Cooper commanded 2,000 Choctaw, Chickasaw, Texans and mixed-blood Cherokee, plus 2,300 Missourians, in Newtonia, MO, where they drove out two brigades of Union soldiers. Once again the Union sent reinforcements and the outnumbered Confederates were beaten back to the Arkansas River. Promoted to brigadier general May 2, 1863, Cooper fought in July at Honey Springs, where his forces lost the largest cavalry battle fought in Indian territory. In July 1864 Cooper received district command of Indian territory and eventually commanded all Confederate Native Americans in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Cooper took advantage of the Indians' skills both in scouting and in tracking the occasional escaped prisoner.

After the war Cooper continued working with the Indians. On their behalf he pressed and won claims against the U.S. government for Indian losses during the Civil War. He died a poor man at Old Fort Washita in the Indian territory at the age of 63.

Cooper's mother was half-Chickasaw, as was his wife.

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Troops of Confederate Soldiers in Indian Territory include:

1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles
1st Cherokee Mounted Volunteers
Chickasaw Infantry Volunteers
Choctaw Mounted Rifles
Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles

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