Post War
Just like all the other GI’s returning—no benefits—no GI Bill. When funds would get low, he would put on his coat and put his medals on it and go into Wright City, and sometimes Idabel, and people would give him money to thank him for his service.

Joseph came home to Wright City. Just like all the other GI’s returning—no benefits—no GI Bill. Just life as it had been before. He was an honored guest at many of the local veterans’ hall and even honored at a banquet in Oklahoma City. Eventually, the accolades faded away.

Before the war, Joseph had worked for the Choctaw Lumber Company. After the war, it was renamed the Dierks Lumber Company. Joseph did not get rehired after the war. He did some miscellaneous logging for cash, but not having a job was a big problem.

He had land about a mile from his house that he farmed corn and sweet potatoes before the war and he went back to farming and doing day work helping his neighbors at harvest time. 

When funds would get low, he would put on his coat and put his medals on it and go into Wright City, and sometimes Idabel, and people would give him money to thank him for his service.

He liked to squirrel hunt and go fishing in the creek behind his house –with a bow and arrow. His nephews and great-grandsons would fetch the fish he had shot out of the water for him.

He and his wife had garden at their home. After church on Sundays, they would have a family dinner (Oklahoma talk for lunch) at their house.

His great-grandson remembered that his English was very limited. Oklahombi did not read or write English. In later years, he would only speak in Choctaw.

A Hollywood movie company contacted Joseph and wanted to make a movie of his life, but he had to come to Hollywood to do it. Joseph told them if they would come to Oklahoma and Wright City, he would make the movie. Hollywood refused—no movie was made.

Oklahombi did receive an army pension of $12 a month until 1933 and then it was cut off. The Economy Act in 1933 stipulated that only a disability traceable to the war could receive benefits.

Oklahoman newsman, R.G. Miller found out about Oklahombi’s unemployment and wrote an editorial in The Oklahoman newspaper on January 17, 1937 that asked Wright City could they not find a job for Oklahoma’s most decorated hero. He was shortly rehired by the Dierks Lumber Company. Joseph worked as a mill worker until 1941 when he had to discontinue due to poor health.

On April 13, 1960, Joseph was killed in a truck -pedestrian accident one-half mile from Wright City and a mile and half from his home. He was walking back from picking up some clothes he had taken to the laundry in Wright City. He was hit by a man in a panel truck. The accident broke his neck and both his legs. Oklahombi was 65 years old. Witnesses to the scene remembered seeing the man sitting on the side of the highway totally overwhelmed and sobbing. The man, Kenneth Bazil, was originally charged with vehicular manslaughter, but the family wrote letters asked that no charges be made, so county attorney, Lewis T. Martin dropped all the charges. The family felt it was an accident, plain and simple. Bazil went to the family the day prior to the funeral and asked permission to attend. They told him to come. He did and stood outside the very crowded church for the whole service. Over 1200 people attended Oklahombi’s funeral at the little Luksokla Indian Presbyterian Church that he and his family attended. He was given full military honors. A detachment from Fort Sill participated in the funeral rite, and all McCurtain County flags were flown at half-mast during the service.

The Valliant Leader Newspaper quotes his son Jonah (September 9,1987) “ He never talked about the things he did. He wasn’t interested in bragging about the things he did, and none of us knew to ask.”

People in town remember that he always had candy in his pockets to give to children and that Oklahombi was quiet, soft spoken and kind.

At Christmas time, he would buy oranges and apples for his relatives children and deliver sacks of the fruit to the children on horseback—not as Santa, just as himself.

There was a cemetery at the small church next door to where the family lived. One of the plots was in a low gulley or draw. Joseph remarked to his family that he did not want to be buried there because “he would strangle down there.” The American Legion bought a plot for him at Idabel, but instead Joseph is buried at the Yashau Cemetery in Broken Bow.

There is a quote that has been given of Oklahombi in several newspaper articles, “ Too much salute, not enough shoot.”  Ward County Independent Newspaper, Nov. 03,1921. When asked about his actions during the war, he did not have much to say. Oklahombi did not talk about the war. His great-grandson asked him about capturing Germans and Oklahombi told him that they were not allowed to shoot prisoners—only bring them back to camp.

Quote we liked

“After all the most lasting memorial that we can have, is not of stone or marble, but one that we build in the hearts of those who come after us. “ Czarina C. Conlan

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.