The brave Native American warriors of World War II

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Whenever we talk about Native Americans and their participation in World War II, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is the Navajo Code Speakers and their significant contributions to the war effort by using and sharing their language to create an indecipherable and complicated. code, which is undoubtedly awesome. However, they were not the only natives to put themselves in harm’s way and help the country during the crisis.

Navajo Code Talkers, Saipan, June 1944.

Here are some other brave Native American warriors of World War II.

Robert Arnold

Robert Arnold was born on January 21, 1923, the youngest of eight children, also the quietest. The Arnold siblings grew up with another tribal family, the Sandaines, and lived together on a farm in Kelly Hill. Arnold decided to join the army at the age of 18 to contribute to the exhausting life of his family, because there would be one less mouth to feed in his absence.

Arnold became a paratrooper and a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, an elite parachute infantry that was part of the Normandy invasion, with the mission “to destroy vital German supply bridges and capture the causeways leading to the ‘inland through flooded areas behind Normandy beaches where sea forces would land to take control of roads and communications’,

Their division fought for 33 straight days with no relief, pushing them to their limits. As a result, thousands of people died either by being shot in the air during the fighting or sometimes in solitary confinement. A total of 756 82nd were missing, 156 were killed and 347 were wounded.

As for Arnold, he survived the D-Day invasion. However, he died three months later, on July 3, from injuries he had sustained during the battle.

Albert Sandaine

Could he be one of the Sandaines Arnold grew up with in Kelly Hill? Who knows.

La Tribune tried several times to contact several members of the Sandaine family, but they got nothing in return. As for Albert, he was born on March 3, 1921, and their family lived in the Boyds/Kelly Hill area. Albert was 19 when both his parents died.

In November 1942, he enlisted in the army and became a medical technician under the name of TEC5. He became a member of the 351st Infantry participating in the Fifth Army’s campaign to help liberate Rome. The regiments fought for five months nonstop and were also the first to arrive in Italy.

Albert Sandaine was killed in Italy on September 25, 1944. He was only 23 years old.

Philippe Broncheau

Broncheau didn’t take part in the Normandy invasion, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t play a vital role in World War II. He was from Colville’s reserve and was sent to war from one of the “repple-depples” or replacement depots, where they would replace individual soldiers lost in action instead of replacing entire units. This helped in US Army logistics as they wouldn’t have to move an entire unit every time someone was killed or wounded.

Nespelem, Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, 1900. (University of Washington, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Broncheau’s comrade in arms, Don Burgett, spoke of him in his book, “seven paths to hell.” The two met after Broncheau was sent to replace their unit in December 1944, just five months after the Normandy invasion. He remembered Broncheau as a guy looking forward to his first fight, excited to prove himself.

On December 19, 1944, they landed in a small town called Bastogne in France. This will be the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, where Broncheau is one of the first soldiers to take the German army head first, without fear. As a result, he was seriously injured and taken prisoner. However, due to the lack of facilities to properly treat and care for his wounds, he soon died of his wounds on January 19, 1945.

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