1SGT Pascal Cleatus Poolaw

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1SGT Pascal Cleatus Poolaw

Birthplace: Apache, Caddo, Oklahoma, United States
Death: November 07, 1967 (45)
Bình Phước, Vietnam
Place of Burial: Fort Sill Post Cemetery, Fort Sill, Comanche, Oklahoma, United States of America
Immediate Family:

Son of PVT Ralph Emerson Poolaw and Minnie Poolaw
Husband of Irene Poolaw
Father of SSG Lester Gene Poolaw, Sr; SP4 Pascal Cleatus 'Nobikazagodesa' Poolaw Jr; SGT Lindy W Poolaw; Private; Private and 3 others
Brother of Donald Gleason Poolaw and Betty Jean Pewewardy

Occupation: Infantry Senior Sergeant (ARMY)
Managed by: Dr. R. Owen Wyant, (PhD) on Sabb...
Last Updated:

About 1SGT Pascal Cleatus Poolaw

Poolaw has been called America's most decorated Indian soldier with 42 medals and citations. Among his medals are four Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars. He also earned three Purple Hearts, one for each of the wars in which he fought, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The fourth Silver Star was awarded posthumously after Poolaw died during action in Vietnam. On Nov. 7, 1967, Poolaw's unit, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, was part of a search and destroy mission near the village of Loc Ninh.

The unit was attacked by numerically superior Viet Cong force. Under a hail of fire, Poolaw raced to the lead squad, exposed all the way, and deployed the squad there to lay down a base of fire, the citation read. This action saved countless lives, but Poolaw wasn't finished.

Poolaw continued moving among the troops, making sure they were positioned properly pulling casualties back to the lines despite being wounded himself. He was mortally wounded as he pulled another casualty back to the lines.

His devotion to his soldiers was exceeded only by the love of his family. Poolaw served in Vietnam trying to spare his son the horrors of war.

When his son, Lindy, received orders for Vietnam, Poolaw volunteered for the combat zone with he hope of serving there in place of his son. Regulations prohibit two members of the same family from serving in combat at the same time without their consent.

Another of Poolaw's sons had already been in Vietnam which added to his wanting to spare Lindy. His son, Pascal Cleatus Poolaw, Jr., a Specialist 4, had been wounded in Vietnam in February 1967. The younger Poolaw was hit by a mine and received metal fragments in the legs. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee.

When the senior Poolaw finally reached the port of departure on the West Coast, he discovered Lindy had left for Vietnam the day before. He decided to follow his son.

Having the father and son of the family serving in combat at the same time was nothing new to Poolaw. He had served in World War II with his dad, Ralph Poolaw Sr., and his two brothers.

Poolaw served almost four months in Vietnam before the fatal combat operation. In a letter he wrote just before his death, Poolaw said he rated his job as being more important than his life.

In her eulogy at Poolaw's funeral at the Fort Sill Post Cemetery, his wife, Irene, echoed those sentiments. "He has followed the trail of the great chiefs," she said. "His people hold him in honor and highest esteem. He has given his life for the people and the country he loved so much."

The example of Poolaw's bravery and devotion lives at Fort Sill, where he served for a year before going to Vietnam. Poolaw Hall at Sheridan Road was named after him and contains an exhibit dedicated to the American Indian soldier.

Pascal Cleatus Poolaw Sr.
A Hero on The Vietnam War Memorial
A full-blooded Kiowa from Anadarko, Sgt. 1st Class Pascal Cleatus Poolaw, who served during three wars, was killed in Vietnam in 1967. He was 45.

A total of 42 awards and medals, including four Silver Stars, five Bonze Stars, one Air Medal and three Purple Hearts, makes Poolaw the most decorated Indian soldier in U.S. history.

Poolaw attended Riverside Indian School and married classmate, Irene Chalepah a beautiful and good Apache woman. He joined the U.S. Army on August 27, 1942.

He rose through the ranks to earn a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant, but later relinquished his commission.

While in service to his country, Poolaw was wounded in Germany in September 1944 and in Korea on April 4, 1951.

He earned a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster, a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and a Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He was awarded the Silver Star when he was with the 8th Infantry in Belgium September 8, 1944. His citation to the third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star was awarded for his service in the Korean War during 1950-51. He received his Silver Star in Korea April 4, 1951.

Serving in a long line of military men, Poolaw served in World War II during the time his father, Ralph Poolaw Sr., and his two brothers were also serving. His grandfather, "Kiowa George" Poolaw served as a member of the famed all Indian Cavalry Troop 1 at Fort Sill from 1893-95.

He served a year at Fort Sill before volunteering for duty in Vietnam. He had just completed his 25th year of service when he was killed in action while rescuing his wounded men under fire.


I linked the Lindy Poolaw to his parents with additional information today. At the time of his father's death in Vietnam, sibling PVT Donald R Poolaw was serving with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, Ft Leonard Wood, MO. Sibling SP5 Lester G Poolaw was serving with Battery C, 1st Missile Battalion, 67th Artillery in Wurzburg, Federal Republic of Germany. Sibling PFC Pascal C. Poolaw Jr was a patient at Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. At the time of his father's death, Lindy was a PFC serving with Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam.
Information provided by Robert Fowler.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
22 mins ·
Today we honor Pascal C. Poolaw Sr. of Apache, Oklahoma, who fell on this day in 1967. He served in WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam War.

He is one of 42,000 American Indians who served in the Vietnam War (the highest per capita service rate of any ethnic group). Pascal was a Kiowa Indian. His unit was part of a search and destroy mission near the village of Loc Ninh when they were attacked. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he exposed himself to assist in deploying the men and establishing an effective base of fire. Although wounded, he continued to move about the area encouraging his men and pulling casualties to cover. He was assisting a wounded man to safety when he was mortally wounded. He has been called America's most decorated American Indian Soldier with 42 medals and citations. He was the recipient of three Silver Stars and a fourth, which was awarded posthumously.

Pascal is remembered on Panel 29E, Line 43 of The Wall→bit.ly/2RBe81Q

Contributor: Brandon O'Rear (48115948) •

1sgt Poolaw most impressive accomplishment. “The Combat Infantryman Badge with 2 Stars”. Representing a rare group of less than 350 military warriors who earned it, in the history of the US military. More rare than the MOH. This Badge was equivalent to 3 Eagle Feathers. Thank you!

Contributor: Lionel F Pinn, Jr. (46845107) •

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1SGT Pascal Cleatus Poolaw's Timeline

January 29, 1922
Apache, Caddo, Oklahoma, United States
September 2, 1940
January 4, 1943
June 21, 1946
Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA
January 10, 1948
November 7, 1967
Age 45
Bình Phước, Vietnam
Age 44
Fort Sill Post Cemetery, Fort Sill, Comanche, Oklahoma, United States of America