In remembrance of the soldiers that traveled, fought and never returned in Vietnam, we at ICTMN have compiled a small list of Native warriors that are now listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Though some reports of the actual number of Native veterans vary and taking into consideration some Native veterans themselves may not have identified as Native, there are an approximate 230 listed names on the wall.
In tribute, ICTMN has selected at random 11 warriors whose names are on the wall – for a more thorough list you may visit War Stories.com a site which has compiled Native names of those who fell in service to their country.
Sonia Jo Kendrick, Feed Iowa First
Elwood Baker: Born in January of 1947, Marine Corps LCPL Elwood Baker (Choctaw) from McCurtain County Oklahoma gave his life in Thua Thien on June 24, 1967.
According to one post on VVMF.org, Elwood, a student of a small school in the foothills of the Kiamichi mountains of southeastern Oklahoma, was shy, and “a good person who did all he could to serve his country but showed amazing prowess on the basketball court.
Victor Joe Apodaca Jr.
Victor Joe Apodaca Jr.: From Arapahoe County Colorado and born in 1937, Air Force Major Joe Apodaca, Jr. (Navajo) gave his life in 1967. While he was assigned to the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 366 Tactical Fighter Wing, Danang, South Vietnam, his F4 Phantom fighter jet was shot down over North Vietnam. Afterwards, he was missing in action for years. His remains were finally repatriated in 2001 according to findagrave.com.
John Lawrence Burgess
John Lawrence Burgess: From Kingsley Michigan, US Army SP5 John Lawrence Burgess (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) was the crew chief of a UH-1H Helicopter on a mission in Cambodia and South Vietnam when the helicopter was hit by enemy fire and crashed in 1970 according to vvmf.org. Though his remains were not initially recovered, they were eventually identified and interred at Arlington Cemetery.
Frank W. Jealous-Of-Him
Frank W Jealous-Of-Him: Born in 1947 and from Wounded Knee South Dakota, Frank W. Jealous-of-Him (Lakota-Sioux) was a US Army SP4 who lost his life in Quang Tin according to vvmf.org. On June 9, 1969, Frank was killed by small arms fire when a sniper shot his friend Karl Shofer, Frank dove to help and save his friend but was also killed according to sdvietnamwarmemorial.com.
Harold Bradley Muller
Harold Bradley Muller: Born in 1947 and from Humboldt County California, Sergeant Harold B Muller (Yurok) was killed in 1968 in Kontum. According to a post on VVMF.org, Muller, called “Chief” by his fellow soldiers, was a sergeant who took people under his wing.
“Chief was the company's best point man and I learned from him and pulled a lot of point also after learning from the best. I was on R&R when Chief was killed. When I got back from R&R and was told of his death it struck me hard. It was like someone punched me in the gut. Of all the guys we lost, I can still see his face. He will forever be 22 years old to me. I miss him to this day.”
5 Names from Akwesasne New York
In July 2012, The American Legion's Post #1479 at the St. Regis Mohawk Reserve in Akwesasne hosted "The Moving Wall" a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that resides in Washington D.C.
During the memorial of the wall, 5 names of those who served in Vietnam were from Akwesasne those names are James V. Bigtree, William M. Tarbell, Charles R. Martin, Charles F. Rubado and Clifford L. Tarbell.