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Native Americans in the Korean War

Native Americans have served with distinction in United States military actions for over 200 years. During World War II, more than 44,000 American Indians, out of a total Native American population of less than 350,000, saw military service. A few years later, many of these seasoned troops and officers transferred their fighting skills to the Korean Peninsula, where new recruits joined them in the fight against communist aggression.

Jocco Clark"Cherokee Strikes" Boost Morale

Vice Admiral Joseph J. "Jocko" Clark, the last commander of the Navy's 7th Fleet during the Korean War and a Cherokee descendent, became famous for his self-proclaimed "Cherokee Strikes." In late 1952, Clark, a veteran of two world wars, concentrated his fleet's efforts on the destruction of enemy weapons and supplies behind enemy lines. For these raids, Clark deployed his Navy and Marine Corps carrier-based aircraft and land-based Air Force and foreign planes. While not particularly devastating to enemy supply lines, the Cherokee Strikes served as a much-needed morale boost for American frontline troops.

Army Soldiers Serve Heroically

Major General Hal L. Muldrow Jr., a Choctaw, commanded the Division Artillery, 45th Infantry Division from Dec. 10, 1951, to May 22, 1952. Colonel, and later Brigadier General, Otwa Autry of the Creek Nation commanded the 189th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division until May 1952. The 189th delivered some of the heaviest artillery fire during the battles for Hills 191(T-Bone Ridge) and 275 (Old Baldy) during the summer of 1952.

Sergeant First Class William Stewart, a Crow, also saw action with the 45th Infantry Division. He was wounded during the battle for Christmas Hill. Private First Class Clarence J. Marcellais, a Chippewa, landed at Pusan in July 1950 with the Army's 24th Infantry Division. Marcellais was wounded by a mortar shell when the North Koreans tried to overrun an artillery battery near the Naktong River. Less than a year later, while on patrol near Chipyong-ni, he was hit in the left leg by sniper fire, and the leg had to be amputated at the knee. Private First Class Jerome Adams, a Devil's Lake Sioux, served with the Army's 2d Infantry Division. He was evacuated after receiving gunshot wounds in the back, chest and arms and also shrapnel wounds in his legs.

 

Sources
Autry, Otwa T. Brigadier General, Retired. The 189th Field Artillery, 1920–1988 (1988)
Bureau of Indian Affairs. Indian Record (1970)
Field, James A., Jr. History of United States Naval Operations Korea (1962)
45th Infantry Division Association. 45th Division News (1988)
Jordan, Kenneth N. Sr. Forgotten Heroes (1995)
Henry, Christopher. Ben Nighthorse Campbell: Cheyenne Chief and U.S. Senator (1994)
"Memories of Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.," Ho-Chunk Wo-Lduk, July 1994, p. 3.
"Museum Remembers Ho-Chunk Warriors," Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, November 1, 1997, pp. 1–2.
U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (1973)
United States 93d Congress. 1st Session. Senate. Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (1973)
United States. Department of Defense. Fact Sheet: Native Americans (n.d)
United States, Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center. "Frequently Asked Questions: American Indian Medal of Honor Winners" (n.d.)
United States, Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center. "Frequently Asked Questions: 20th Century Warriors: Native American Participation in the United States Military" (n.d.)

 

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