Americans in the Korean War
Indians 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
RADM Joseph J. "Jocko" Clark, Cherokee,
the first Native American to graduate from the U.S.
Korean Peninsula, where new recruits joined them in
the fight against communist aggression.
Strikes" Boost Morale
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
Soldiers Serve HeroicallyMajor 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.
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.
young recruit who joined the military during the Korean
conflict was Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Cheyenne, who,
in 1987, became the first American Indian to serve in
Congress since 1929. The 18-year-old Campbell joined
the Air Force in 1951. He was transferred to an Air
Force police unit and shipped to Korea. Campbell never
saw combat first-hand, but he vividly remembers the
horrors he saw there, especially the suffering of Korean
children. But Campbell also recalls the benefits of
service in the military, writing, "There was a camaraderie
[in the Air Force] that transcends ethnicity when you
serve your country overseas in wartime."
was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in November
1982 and from there went to the U.S. House of Representatives,
where he served from 1987 through 1992. He was elected
to the U.S. Senate in 1992.
American Medal of Honor Recipients from the Korean War
warrior tradition of overpowering the enemy and facing
death head-on accurately describes the heroic actions
of the three Native Americans awarded the Medal of Honor
during the Korean War. These two soldiers and one officer
faced the enemy bravely and through their heroism saved
the lives of their fellow servicemen.
Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.
son of a Winnebago chief and warriors who believe that
when a man goes into battle, he expects to kill or be
killed and if he dies he will live forever." These are
the words inscribed on the monument erected in Black
River Falls, Wisconsin, and dedicated to the memory
of Korean War hero Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.,
the first Winnebago to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Red Cloud, a member of Company E, 19th Infantry Regiment,
24th Infantry Division, was awarded the Medal of Honor
for his bravery during an attack by communist forces
near Chonghyon, South Korea, on Nov. 5, 1950. According
to an eyewitness account, Company E was alerted to the
surprise enemy attack by a shouted warning from Corporal
Red Cloud, who was on a ridge guarding his company's
command post. He immediately opened fire with his automatic
rifle on the advancing enemy troops. Despite being severely
wounded, Red Cloud held his ground, using a tree to
give himself the support needed to continue firing.
He refused help and continued to fire until he was fatally
wounded. His valiant actions checked the enemy assault
and allowed his company to consolidate its position
and evacuate the wounded.
Red Cloud received the Medal of Honor posthumously on
July 2, 1951; the medal was presented to his mother,
Nellie Red Cloud, by U.S. Army General Omar Bradley,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
First Class Charles George
First Class Charles George, a Cherokee from North Carolina,
followed the ancient warrior tradition, when, on Nov.
30, 1952, he sacrificed his life to save the lives of
his fellow soldiers. During the night of Nov. 30, George,
a member of Company C, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th
Infantry Division, was with a raiding party operating
near Songnae-dong, South Korea. The raiding party was
charged with engaging the enemy and capturing a prisoner
for interrogation. As they charged up a hill toward
the enemy, the group faced intense mortar and machine-gun
fire and suffered several casualties.
the charge, Private George fought valiantly, and once
the crest of the hill had been reached, he jumped into
the trench where the enemy soldiers were concealed and
engaged them in hand-to-hand combat. When the troops
were ordered to withdraw, George and two companions
remained behind to cover the withdrawal. As they were
leaving the trenches, an enemy soldier threw a grenade
toward the Americans. Private George immediately threw
himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast,
thus saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Although
severely wounded, he kept silent so as not to reveal
the position of the men with him. His companions evacuated
him, but he died shortly thereafter.
Raymond Harvey, a Chickasaw, was commanding officer
of Company C, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for an action on March
9, 1951, near Taerni-dong, South Korea. When Harvey's
company was pinned down by automatic weapons fire from
several well-entrenched emplacements, he braved bullets
and grenades to advance to the first North 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 assault through the intense crossfire.
After spotting a well-camouflaged enemy pillbox, he
moved close enough to sweep the emplacement with carbine
fire and throw grenades through the openings, killing
its five occupants.
wounded and in pain, he ordered his company forward
and continued to direct the attack on the remaining
hostile positions. Harvey refused evacuation until assured
that the mission would be accomplished.