Project Timeline

Oklahombi Update

2013

- Mrs. Garone sees picture of Joseph Oklahombi in a hallway of the Choctaw KOA park and offers his name as a National History Day project.

National History Day project “Joseph Oklahombi”

Students ask why he did not receive the Medal of Honor for his actions. We decide to pursue the MOH for Oklahombi.

2014

- Students do the “Medal of Honor” for a National History Day Project to increase knowledge of the process for their pursuit of the MOH for Oklahombi.

Original Group of Students graduate

Contacted the Texas Military Museum to get history of Oklahombi’s unit

2015

- Original Group and now plus Ruben Rivera and Zac and Shelby Beckham present their position on the MOH to Chief Batton and Congressman Cole in Durant.

We gather information for the application.

Send for Oklahombi’s military records at the National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri

Eyewitness account of Tobias Frazier, as written down by Jimm Jacobs, himself retired military.

Contact all family members who will speak with us.

Contact a professor at Army Military College in Pennsylvania who is expert on WWI—Col. Doug Mastriano.

Search internet and read any books available on Native Americans in the military.

We gather support letters from politicians and others.

Veterans’ Day- we present the application at a Veterans’ Day Ceremony at the school to our Congressman’s representative. We also present a flag to Oklahombi family member Pat Metheny and her family.

Start Facebook page to keep everyone in the loop ( Trevor)

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Advised application needs one more eyewitness account:

  • Obtain German military records (already translated from Naval Academy)
  • Contact American Battles Monument Commission –they are able to obtain French records their contacts- Mike Maxey of UCO has them translated for us.
  • Got a request for permission to print Oklahombi’s story in the Havoc military blog by Gideon Asche—he mentioned the battle cry which had been non-published—he had heard about it from an old German soldier Asche had interviewed (was in Military) that had been in WWI and he mentioned 1) the cry 2) the Choctaw’s gave them heck for four days.
  • Give list of men in Oklahombi’s unit to the Choctaw Nation to see if any of the men are Choctaw-no one other than Oklahombi
  • Pursued the Web to find books on Native Americans in WWI
  • Talked to the Associated Press Museum about the role of media in WWI- teletype first used in early 1900’s which explains why Oklahombi’s story had so much press
  • Have Croix de Guerre translated professionally- the pronouns are plural, but each man got an award unto himself.
  • Contacted people in Wright City looking for leads.

2016

  • Got the enlistment cards of all the men in his unit from The Texas Military Museum and put a press release in the hometown of all the men in Oklahombi’s unit. We got great press coverage, but no leads. Most people just wanted to get information from us or share their relatives story.
  • A graduate student, Jed Dunham, at Kansas State University, finds out that Oklahombi has posters up at the American Cemetery in France and sends us pictures. We contact the American Battles Monument Commission and ask why they choose Oklahombi and where they got the information. “ Seemed really interesting and the Internet,” were the answers.

2017

  • Contacted woman who obtained a MOH for her WWI father. She has assisted us quite a bit with names of resources: Else Shemin-Roth
  • We contact professional researcher recommended by Texas Military Museum. He is doing a book on Oklahombi’s unit—63rd. He is interested in helping us. Finds us the After-Action report: Scott Schoner

Pursued looking for the other eyewitness listed on the After-Action Report: 

  • Put a request on Forgotten Oklahoma Facebook page. Got a lead, but the living family of the other witness would not respond once he found out what we were after.
  • Choctaw Nation has hired the researcher to go to the National Archives in Maryland and search their records. We are waiting on him: Scott Schoner
  • Had our retired Pentagon Army contact read the bill and application for Congressman Mullin’s office. Goal is to submit for MOH and for all Native American Military records to be examined for bias. Only minority group whose records have not been audited for bias.
  • Scott asked me to contact family and town people and get information on what happened to Oklahombi after war. (Document Oklahombi Post War)
  • Scott also asked me the resources that had been checked ( Oklahombi resources)
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.