Warriors at Heart: Some of the Native Women Who Served in the Military
During the American Revolution, (1775-1783) Tyonajanegen, a Native American woman married to an American Army Officer, fought alongside her husband on horseback during a battle in which she loaded her husband’s gun because he had been shot in the wrist.
Since that time, Native women warriors have continued to make contributions to the U.S. military’s fight in conflicts here and overseas. Though women servicemembers have not been as prevalent on the front lines of combat as their male counterparts, their contributions have still been significant.
In honor of their contributions, here are some Notable Native American Women Veterans that certainly deserve to be recognized. It also goes without saying, that all of our nations veterans and servicemembers are always on our list of heroes, whether or not they appear on this list.
World War II
In WWII, nearly 800 Native American women served to include Elva (Topeda) Wale, (Kiowa) who left her reservation and served in the Women’s Army Corps and Beatrice (Coffey) Taylor who served in the Army of Occupation in Germany assigned to KP with German POW’s.
Alida (Whipple) Fletcher was a medical specialist in WWII and was on duty the night two ships loaded with explosives collided, killing 400 sailors and wounded many more. Alida called the night the most tragic moment of her life.
Private Minnie Spotted Wolf of Heart Butte Montana was the first Female Native American to enlist into the Marine Corps in 1943. Having worked on her father’s ranch much of her childhood, commented Marine boot camp was “hard, but not too hard.”
Ola Mildred Rexroat from the Pine Ridge Reservation joined the Women's Air force Service Pilots (WASP’s) after high school and towed targets for aerial gunnery students, an extremely dangerous assignment. “Rexy” as she was called was only too happy to help in the war effort and later joined the Air Force for an additional 10 years.
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