The 7th Grade Students At Mannsville Elementary School
The project originally started as a National History Day project when the students were in 7th grade at Mannsville Elementary School from Mannsville, Oklahoma. The original group had additional students added as the years went by.
This website and project is soley dedicated to making the public aware of Joseph Oklahombi, and to help secure the Medal of Honor Posthumously for him.


Nellie Garone said the project began with a simple question.

"It was a very emotional time for all of us," she said. "The students started saying why didn't Joseph Oklahombi get the Medal of Honor and then it expanded into 'why don't we do something about it? So we did."

The project originally started as a National History Day project when the students were in 7th grade at Mannsville Elementary School from Mannsville, Oklahoma. The original group had additional students added as the years went by.
 
The original group has now graduated from high school 2019. One of the students created the facebook page and Nellie Garone updates it. Nellie and another teacher were the advisors on the project. Nellie had seen a picture of Joseph Oklahombi hanging in the hallway of a community center building of the Choctaws. She had never heard of him and thought he would be an interesting subject for the students' National History Day project.
 
The students made a display board for him the 1st year and then created a website for him the 2nd year for their NHD entries. The boys keep in touch with Nellie with every update and are still very vested in the project!
 

Joseph Oklahombi Project Participants List

Teacher Advisors
Nellie Garone
Twanda Hill

Students
Trevor Carroll
Gus Peoples
Alion Morgan
Bradley Phillips
Phillip Brown
Moises Ibarra
Bradley Persley
Zach Beckham*
Shelby Beckham*
Courtney Lamb*
Ruben Rivera*
Dakota Toon*

Major Supporters/Contributors
There are many people who have aided us in our quest for bringing honor to Pvt. Joseph Oklahombi. Our thanks go to David Herron, former superintendent-principal Mannsville School and Brandi Price, Superintendent-principal Mannsville School for believing in the project, providing time and encouragement. Chief Gary Batton and Judy Allen of the Choctaw Nation for their tireless support and patience. We would not even be on the first step of our journey without Jimm Jacobs providing us with the eye-witness account. We would not even have known about Jimm Jacobs without the continued interest and co-sleuthing of Jo Christopher. Elsie Shemin-Roth and the Sgt. Michael Shemin Medal of Honor Legacy Foundation have been our guide and resource go to person. Our journey would not even have wings if it wasn’t for Elsie’s encouragement.

We give a salute to the military personnel that have helped us:  Col. Erwin Burtnick, US Army retired, Col. Doug Mastriano, US Army College, Gideon D. Asche, and Allen M. Bekcett CIV (US) for all their guidance and source suggestions.

Our thank yous extend many places: the American Battles Monument Commission, David Bedford and  Frank Lesjean in France, Ellen Sieber at Indiana State University, Lisa Sharik, Deputy Director at the Texas Military Forces Museum, Ron Coppedge and Murray State College, Nuchi Nashoba and Beth Lawless of the Choctaw Codetalkers Association, Regina Green, Director of the Choctaw Nation Museum, Matt Reed and the Oklahoma History Center, Jed Durham who found the memorial plaques in France and has encouraged us step by step, Richard F. Johnson and William T. Lee Jr.  who started the journey, Johnny Wilson for his gracious phone interview, Veronique Lozano and the WWI Native American Warrior association and Dr. Herman Viola for continuing the search here and in France,  Dr. Michael Tate and Dr. Thomas A. Britten for all their research into Native Americans in the military, Patricia Jollie, Smithsonian Institute of National Museum of the American Indian, Dr. Corrie Delashaw and National History Day who opened the door for the project, Mike Maxey who found translators for us and has cheered us on, the Forgotten Oklahoma Facebook Page contributors, Kristina Southwell, Associate Curator Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Mabee-Gerre Museum in Shawnee, Oklahoma,  Matt Patterson, The Oklahoman newspaper for his outstanding articles that propelled our project forward, Ray Lokey, Capital Democrat newspaper, Michael Barnes, Austin-American Statesman newspaper, Marietta Monitor newspaper, Matt Miller and the Southeastern Times newspaper and Bob West, McCurtain Daily Gazette for covering Joseph Oklahombi’s story and spreading the word.

We want to thank family members who gave us their time and trust to bring honor to their family member. We especially want to thank Shirley Geller for all her time and encouragement, Pat Metheney and her family for coming to our Veterans’ Day Program to honor Joseph Oklahombi, James H. Kirby, Brad Kirby, Vivian Murray, Avis Smith, Joyce Conterez, Lee Watkins, Samuel Wallace Jr., Bob Baker and Nichole Narcomey for their phone calls, letters, and assistance in gathering information.

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.