At 23 years old he ran behind an enemy machine gun installation that was mowing down his comrades. As an expert hunter, he was able to run across a series of barbed wire barricades and pin down over 250 German soldiers. After killing 79, the remaining 171 gave up.
German accounts tell of the sound of whooping, savage, blood curdling, war cries followed by screams… then another gun would fall silent and eventually spring back to life bearing down on German positions. Four days and nights the Choctaw Doughboys terrorized German positions. Almost 80 Germans lost their lives and 171 chose to surrender on the fourth day of the battle.
"Oklahoma's Greatest War Hero of WW1" Deserves The Medal of Honor
Award Joseph Oklahombi the Medal of Honor Posthumously
In 1918, at the tender age of 26, a young First Nations (Choctaw) man named Joseph Oklahombi served in the same theater of war as Sgt. Alvin York. Despite not being able to speak English or vote due to his heritage, he demonstrated unparalleled bravery and heroism on the battlefield. His exploits mirrored those of Sgt. York's, occurring only a few days apart from each other.
Unable to speak English, Joseph decided that he should “speak the language of warfare in fighting for his country.” Little did he know that his native language would become an invaluable tool to help the United States defeat Germany.
The Choctaw were the very first "Code Talkers" and Joseph was one of the first. Joseph served in the Thirty-Sixth Infantry Division's Company D, First Battalion, 141st Regiment, Seventy-First Brigade stationed in France during WWI. One day while he was conversing with other Choctaws, Colonel A.W. Bloor realized that he was unable to understand what the Indians were saying. He deducted that since he could not understand their conversations, neither could the Germans. Working with the Choctaw soldiers, Bloor put together a code that substituted the Choctaw language in place of the code used by the military. Joseph and 18 other native born Choctaws became known as the original "Code Talkers."
However, Joseph Oklahombi contributed much more than merely the translation of correspondence. On October 8, 1918, at St. Etienne, France, during the fierce Meuse-Argonne campaign, with the assistance of twenty-three other soldiers, Oklahombi attacked German machine gun nests and captured many of the enemy. According to the official report, Joseph, “under the most violent barrage” pushed through over 200 yards of “barbed wire entanglements, rushed on machine gun nests, capturing 171 prisoners.” Joseph single handedly kept these prisoners at bay “for three long hours until others in the company arrived.” And even though the German fortification contained over “fifty machine guns and trench mortars,” led by the brave “man-killer,” the Choctaw Indian squad seized the weaponry, “turned the captured guns on the enemy,” and held their position for “four days in spite of a continued barrage of large projectiles and gas shells.” Brave Joseph “crossed no man’s land many times to get information and assist wounded comrades.” Based on a statement issued by French Marshal Petain, Oklahombi killed seventy-nine German soldiers, and aided by his fellow Choctaws took care of those that were wounded.
Because of his gallant efforts, General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during World War I, awarded him the Silver Star to be worn on the Victory Ribbon, while Marshal Petain bestowed upon him the Croix de Guerre, one of France's highest honors for bravery. The chivalry that this full blood Native American displayed overseas fulfilled a prophecy made by Pushmataha, a Choctaw chief who passed way in 1827, “that the Choctaw ‘War Cry’ would be heard in many foreign lands.”
Joseph Oklahombi's actions during World War I were nothing short of extraordinary and deserving recognition with the Medal of Honor - America's highest military honor for acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Yet, despite his heroic deeds that saved countless lives, he was never awarded this prestigious medal.
This petition seeks justice for Joseph Oklahombi and recognition for his exceptional service to our country during one its most challenging times. It is time we honor him posthumously with the Medal Of Honor that he rightfully deserves.
Join us in righting this historical oversight by signing this petition today! Let us collectively ensure that Joseph Oklahombi’s bravery is acknowledged appropriately by our nation!
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Joseph's Citations - Click Arrows
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Joseph Oklahombi YouTube Videos
Joseph Spoke No English
He walked 26 miles to volunteer for the United States Army. He left behind his young wife and baby son.
No Grenades Used A Potato
The unit had no grenades, Joseph carved one out of a potato and went over the top earlier than his company.
Joseph's War Cry Of A Panther
This startled the Germans and Joseph was able to run to the first German machine gun nest and take control of it until the rest of the men in his unit arrived.
Held 171 German Prisoners
The men then turned the enemy’s own guns on them and held 171 Germans prisoner for four days under constant barrage of high explosives and gas shells.