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Medal of Honor Recipients, Native American

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  • Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez, MSG (1935 - 1998)
    Raul (Roy) Perez Benavidez (August 5, 1935 – November 29, 1998) was a member of the Studies and Observations Group of the United States Army. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in co...
  • John Ward, SGT (1848 - 1911)
    John Ward (1848 – 1911) was a Black Seminole who served as a United States Army Indian Scout and received America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions i...
  • Co-Rux-Te-Chod-Ish // Mad Bear and Co-Tux-A-Kah-Wadde // Traveling bear, SGT/Scout (deceased)
    Co-Rux-Te-Chod-Ish was a Pawnee Scouts and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western United State...
  • Chiquito, Scout (deceased)
    Chiquito was a United States Army Indian scout and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Indian Wars of the western Unit...
  • Jim // Bow-os-loh, SGT (b. - c.1897)
    Jim (died c. 1897), born Bow-os-loh , was an Apache Indian scout in the U.S. Army who served under Lieutenant Colonel George Crook during the Apache Wars. He guided cavalry troopers against renegade Ap...

In the 20th century, eight 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 two cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Jack C. Montgomery. A Cherokee from Oklahoma, and a First Lieutenant with the 45th Infantry Division Thunderbirds. On 22 February 1944, near Padiglione, Italy, Montgomery's rifle platoon was under fire by three echelons of enemy forces, when he single-handedly attacked all three positions, taking prisoners in the process. As a result of his courage, Montgomery's actions demoralized the enemy and inspired his men to defeat the Axis troops.

Ernest Childers. A Creek from Oklahoma, and a First Lieutenant with the 45th Infantry Division. Childers received the Medal of Honor for heroic action in 1943 when, up against machine gun fire, he and eight men charged the enemy. Although suffering a broken foot in the assault, Childers ordered covering fire and advanced up the hill, single-handedly killing two snipers, silencing two machine gun nests, and capturing an enemy mortar observer.

Van Barfoot. A Choctaw from Mississippi, and a Second Lieutenant in the Thunderbirds. On 23 May 1944, during the breakout from Anzio to Rome, Barfoot knocked out two machine gun nests and captured 17 German soldiers. Later that same day, he repelled a German tank assault, destroyed a Nazi fieldpiece and while returning to camp carried two wounded commanders to safety.

Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. 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.

Ernest E. Evans. A half-Cherokee and one-quarter-Creek, a Naval Academy graduate, and a Lieutenant Commander serving onboard USS Johnston (DD-557). During the Battle off Samar on 25 October 1944 Johnston formed part of Task Unit 77.4.3 (Taffy 3), which came under attack by a vastly superior Japanese force comprising battleships, heavy and light cruisers and destroyers. In spite of the odds, Evans gave orders to close the range and prepare for a torpedo attack, informing his crew that "survival cannot be expected." As his ship and the other destroyers of Taffy 3 drove the attack home, Japanese fire took the inevitable toll. After unloosing a spread of torpedoes, Johnston was so badly damaged that Evans had to give the order to abandon ship. It is uncertain whether Evans died of wounds on board his ship or drowned after jumping into the water, but he was not among the Johnston's crew who were rescued. For his gallantry and unwavering courage that materially aided in the warding off of the Japanese force, Ernest E. Evans was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Charles George. 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.

James E. Williams. A Cherokee from South Carolina and Boatswain's Mate First Class. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of River Section 531 during combat operations on the Mekong River in the Republic of Vietnam. Under the leadership of Petty Officer Williams, who demonstrated unusual professional skill and indomitable courage throughout the three hour battle, the patrol accounted for the destruction or loss of sixty-five enemy boats and inflicted numerous casualties on the enemy personnel. His extraordinary heroism and exemplary fighting spirit in the face of grave risks inspired the efforts of his men to defeat a larger enemy force, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Michael E. Thorton.A Cherokee from South Carolina and Engineman Second Class. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while participating in a daring operation against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam on October 31, 1972. Petty Officer Thornton, an assistant U.S. Navy advisor, along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant serving as senior advisor, accompanied a three-man Vietnamese Navy SEAL patrol in an operation against an enemy river base. As the patrol approached its objective on foot, it came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in naval gunfire support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement. Upon learning that the senior advisor had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, Petty Officer Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant's last position, quickly disposed of two enemy soldiers, and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious senior naval advisor. At water’s edge, he inflated the lieutenant's life jacket and towed him seaward for approximately two hours until they were picked up by a support craft. By his extraordinary courage and perseverance, Petty Officer Thornton was directly responsible for saving the life of his superior officer and enabling the safe extraction of all patrol members, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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Nineteenth Century

Alchesay. Sergeant, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Entered service at: Camp Verde, Arizona. Born: 1853, Arizona Territory. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Blanquet. Indian Scout. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Chiquito. Indian Scout. Place and date: Winter of 1871-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Co-Rux-Te-Chod-Ish (Mad Bear). Sergeant, Pawnee Scouts, U.S. Army. Place and date: At Republican River, Kansas, 8 July 1869. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Nebraska. Date of issue: 24 August 1869. Citation: Ran out from the command in pursuit of a dismounted Indian; was shot down and badly wounded by a bullet from his own command.

Elsatsoosu. Corporal, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Jim. Sergeant, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1871-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona Territory. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Kelsay. Indian Scout. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Kosoha. Indian Scout. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Machol. Private, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Arizona, 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaign and engagements with Apaches.

Nannasaddie. Indian Scout. Place and date: 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Nantaje (Nantahe). Indian Scout. Place and date: 1872-73. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.

Rowdy.Sergeant, Company A, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Arizona, 7 March 1890. Entry of service date unknown. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 15 May 1890. Citation: Bravery in action with Apache Indians.