A Soldier's Story: Private First Class James Harvey Booth

A Soldier's Story: Private First Class Joseph Oklahombi

Charley Jones. The historian of the Choctaw nation tells us that Pushmataha, a Choctaw chief from the early 1800s, once predicted that the Choctaw war cry would be heard in a foreign land.

WWI fulfilled Chief Pushmataha's prediction. Joseph Oklahombi, born May 1, 1895, enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 25, 1918.

Remarkably, Private First Class Joseph Oklahombi (and other Choctaw tribal members) enlisted at all. Unfortunately, the United States government did not, at this time, recognize Native Americans as Citizens.

Private First Class Joseph Oklahombi, with 19 other Choctaw tribal members, was the first "code talkers" for the U.S. Military and used the Choctaw language to confuse and stump the German army. The success of the Choctaw Code Talkers paved the way for the future use of Native American languages (the Navajo and Comanche) to confuse enemies.

Private First Class Joseph Oklahombi is also considered to be Oklahoma's most decorated WWI soldier. Earning a Silver Star and the Croix de Guerre for his actions during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, where he almost single-handled captured 171 enemy soldiers.

After his discharge in June of 1919, he returned to the Kiamichi Mountains of Oklahoma, with his wife Agnes and new son Jonas. He lived quietly farming, hunting, and fishing until his death from an auto-pedestrian accident in 1960.

He was finally granted citizenship with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

The Choctaw Code Talkers were rewarded posthumously for their November 15ing WWI on November 15, 2008, when the Code Talkers Recognition Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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