Lest we Forget

Lest we Forget, On this day in History…

 Honoring All Veterans

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Native American Warriors from all over this Indian country served in this combat. World War II 1944

As many as 25,000 Native Americans actively fought in World War II: 21,767 in the Army, 1,910 in the Navy, 874 in the Marines, 121 in the Coast Guard, and several hundred Native American women as nurses. These figures represent over one-third of able-bodied Native American men aged 18–50, and even included as high as seventy percent of the population of some tribes. For many soldiers, World War II represented the first interracial contact between natives living on relatively isolated reservations and whites.

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Klamath Tribes Editor’s Note by Taylor R. Tupper: I’d like to take a moment to reflect and remember a man I personally knew from the Warm Springs Tribe, the late Art Mitchell, who was there that day and stormed the beaches of Normandy. He and his late wife, Bernice, was such blessings to my family.  Whenever we traveled to a basketball tournament or powwow/rodeo,  Art and Bernice would shelter and feed our team. Truly some of the best stew, fry bread and oatmeal I’ve ever eaten. And for years I would see this couple at Tribal Government functions around the state and abroad.  Both was active in Tribal Government and community activities. I didn’t know until years later that Art was such a decorated Veteran, but today I’d like to honor his memory and thank his family by sharing his story published many years ago in the Warm Springs Tribal paper- The Spilyay Tymoo.

Spilyay Tymoo Warm Springs, Oregon May 27, 1994

Normandy again after 50 years: “I was scared, because it was my first combat” said Art Mitchell of his involvement in the Normandy Invasion 50 years ago.

Art Mitchell served in the US. Army from December 1942 to October 1945. Thousands of World War II veterans will return next month to Normandy for a 50 year anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy Invasion, also known as Operation Overlord. Veterans will return to Normandy with their families and old service buddies to visit, through one of four tour packages organized by Battlefield Tours, USA, Inc. of Louisiana. Seventy-three year old, Arthur Mitchell of Warm Springs, the son of Louie Mitchell and Meta Tewee, is very excited to once again set foot on the sands of the Utah and Omaha beaches, where the invasion of Northern France from England began before dawn of June 6, 1944.

Mitchell was one of 156,000 men who landed on the beaches of Normandy between the Orne estuary and the South Eastern end of Cotentin Peninsula which led Allied forces to the liberation of Europe and the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945. Mitchell, just twenty three at the time of the famous D-Day said he felt, “scared, because it was my first combat.” He was drafted into the United States 3rd Army, 80th Infantry Division, 319th Infantry Battalion in December of 1942, under General George Patton, at the age of twenty one. He ranked as Staff Sergeant. He . was a rifleman for almost two years and completed his service as a medic. While serving his country he served in five major battles which include Normandy, Battle of Bulge, Battle of Northern France, Central Europe, and Austria. Mitchell served two years and eleven months of his life before he was discharged in October 1945. He then married Bernice Tohet Mitchell, January of 1946. Mitchell was decorated with five battle stars; he was awarded a bronze star after the war, combat infantrymen badges, and also two combat medic badges, but he stated that he, “received the biggest prize in 44”, which was the first Per Capita payment to Tribal Members for the amount of $20 for the year. He, as well as all veterans of the Battle of Normandy who visit the region in 1994 will be awarded a commemoration medal as a special anniversary gesture by the French. He will receive the medal during a ceremony, June 6, in which he intends to be dressed in full Indian Regalia. This will include a buckskin outfit as well as his war bonnet, which has a lot of history involved. Each feather on the bonnet symbolizes a battle fought in. Prior to himself, it belonged to World War I veteran, Louis Baker, who was originally from here, but did not live here. Baker told Mitchell that he is to pass the war bonnet onto someone in his family who not only has a history in the service, but actually fought in battles. Four of Mitchell’s family members will be making the trip with him; his wife Bernice, daughter Gloria, grandson Jose Calica, and niece Cassie Katchia.

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Allied forces land on Normandy beaches, June 6, 1944

By ANDREW GLASS 06/06/16 12:00 AM EDT

On this day in 1944, some 160,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers came ashore along a 50-mile stretch of a heavily fortified French coastline to engage the occupying German force on the beaches of Normandy. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the allied supreme commander, issued a statement calling the massive military operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

More than 5,000 warships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion. By the day’s end, the Allies had gained a foothold on the west coast of Continental Europe. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded on the first day of the battle.

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Had the top German commanders — among them Adolf Hitler — quickly realized this was the main invasion force, then the Panzer divisions being held in reserve might have been ordered to Normandy much earlier on D-Day. In such a case, the Allies might have faced a far greater challenge.

However, in part through faulty intelligence and in part through their dogmatic mind-set, the Germans missed the chance to deploy their best defense forces effectively. Most of their early decision-making continued to be based on the belief that the main invasion would come farther north and that the Normandy landings were a feint aimed at fooling them. Inaccurate accounts of events on the front line added to the confusion; even at midday, senior German commanders believed it was their forces, not the Allies, who were winning.

On issuing the order to go ahead, Eisenhower had drafted a statement accepting blame in the event of failure. He wrote: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault is attached to the attempt it is mine alone.”

Eisenhower, who went on to become the 34th president of the United States, would never need to issue that statement. It remained in his uniform pocket unnoticed for weeks.

SOURCE: WWW.BBC.CO.UK/GUIDES/ZGTTTFR

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/dday-normandy-beaches-june-6-1944-223838#ixzz4ApdasJ2L

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Ms. Taylor R. Tupper

Klamath Tribes Public Information/News Dept.

Tribal Administration Office

501 Chiloquin Blvd, Chiloquin, Oregon 97624

email: taylor.tupper@klamathtribes.com

Phone: 541-783-2219 ext. 147