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Oklahoma's "Sergeant York" Draws International Interest

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Another fascinating life story.
    "Joseph Oklahombi may never be awarded the nation's highest military honor, but a group of Mannsville students have made sure the World War I hero's story has stayed alive nearly 60 years after he was killed walking along a rural highway in southeastern Oklahoma.
    Three years ago, elementary and middle school students at Mannsville School near Ardmore embarked on a project to study Oklahombi hoping the renewed interest might help him be awarded the Medal of Honor.
    The medal part has been elusive, but they have fostered interest that goes well beyond Oklahoma's borders. Filmmakers from Nomades, a French TV production company, visited Mannsville last month to interview students about their project. They also visited Wright City, Oklahombi's hometown.
    Trevor Carroll has been part of the Oklahombi project from the beginning. Sitting in a classroom at his old school, the high school junior said talking to people from France wasn't something he ever expected to happen.
    “It really blew my mind that someone would want to come here to interview us about a project that has been going on this long,” Carroll said.
    Born in 1895 in McCurtain County, Oklahombi found himself on the battlefields of Europe where he served with distinction.
    During the October 1918 Meuse-Argonne campaign in France, the Germans began successfully intercepting military dispatches. To help eliminate those problems, the 141st, 142nd and 143rd Infantry Regiments used Choctaw soldiers to encrypt messages in their language to foil the Germans.
    But Oklahombi's contributions weren't limited to communications. Oklahombi assisted in attacking an enemy position that resulted in the capture of 171 prisoners.
    Those same soldiers also seized artillery at another site, killing nearly 80 Germans in the process. They then held their position for four days under a heavy German counterattack.
    For his efforts, Oklahombi and other members of his unit earned the Silver Star and Victory Ribbon. Marshal Henri-Philippe also awarded him the Croix de Guerre, one of France's highest military honors.
    The French film centers mostly on WWI legend Sgt. Alvin York, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for attacking and defeating a German machine gun nest on October 8, 1918. Dominique Hennequin, the film's director, learned of Oklahombi's story while researching York's life."
    Oklahoma WWI hero draws international interest
     
    lwd likes this.

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