Americans of all races and ethnicities served with distinction throughout World War II. Native Americans served their country in a higher percentage than any other race during the Second World War. The most famous group of these Native American soldiers is the Navaho code talkers. Their contributions were vital to the success of the Allies in winning the war. Native Americans also served our nation in many other ways. Pima Indian Ira Hayes was one of the four brave men who raised the American flag over Iwo Jima. Joe Medicine Crow was the last member of the Crow Nation to earn the title of war chief and completed the four requirements (leading a successful war party, stealing an enemy’s horse, disarming an enemy, and counting coup) while fighting the Nazis. Edward McClish, of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, escaped captivity while wounded in the Philippines and went on to organize a small guerilla band. His men engaged Japanese forces over 350 times and inflicted more than 3,600 casualties on the enemy. For all their bravery, a total of five Native Americans received the Medal of Honor for their actions in serving of our country during World War II. In total, 27 Native Americans have received the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor. There is also a memorial on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian for all those who served during the Second World War.
Even though the Native Americans served with such bravery and distinction, they were still discriminated at home. Native Americans were not allowed voting rights until well after the Second World War, in 1965. Despite this and other injustices, the Native American population has continually stepped up to serve our nation in all conflicts with complete selflessness.
The 2010 Census identified 150,000 Native American military veterans. We at State Funeral for World War II Veterans would like to thank each and every one of them for their service to our country. We would also like to recognize and thank our Founding National Board Member and Secretary, Mr. Adam Crepelle, a member of the United Houma Nation tribe.