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Highest honor withheld from Indian vets

2014-06-13T00:00:00Z 2014-06-13T08:50:04Z Highest honor withheld from Indian vets The Billings Gazette
June 13, 2014 12:00 am

While reading about the president presenting the Distinguished Service Cross medal to minority veterans, I saw that none of the 24  were Native American Indians. To me it says one thing. The Native American Indian can fight in the United States wars but will not get rewarded.

I know of two Native Americans who were put up for the Medal of Honor, and it was downgraded to the DSC. One of these was a native out of Oklahoma. His name was William Walkabout. This man was in the Rangers in 1967-1969, I think.

He was mentioned in all the 75th Rangers true stories. Another was Phillip Shortman of Fort Belknap who was with the 25th Infantry Battalion from 1969-1970. He was also put in for the Medal of Honor, but it was also downgraded to the DSC.

While in a battle on the Black Virgin Mountain down around Chu Lai, he saved lives, recaptured his company's machine guns and took care of the wounded in his company. On Shortman, the VA has or had him rated at 10 percent disability.

Shortman had gone from a private first class to a staff sergeant in six months while in Vietnam. That should say something for the record.

William Walkabout has since passed away. Still, why were these Native American men passed over?

Elmer Blackbird


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