Many men and women from the Yavapai-Apache Nation have served in all branches of the armed forces since WWII. These people have included Ted Smith, Sr,, an Apache who served with the 48th Infantry Division in the Italian campaign serving with General George Patton. Smith arrived on the island of Sicily where he help liberate that island and onto into Rome. Smith was wounded during this incursion into enemy forces. The 48th Infantry Division was composed mainly of American Indians belonging to the Oklahoma National Guard that was dispatched to the campaign to stop Nazi Germany from advancing further into the area.
Other notable veterans served in the South Pacific and during the Korean War. Aaron Russell, a former council man and tribal chairman served on a Navy boat during the Korean War.
Roger Wathogoma (pictured) , a Yavapai who grew up in Ajo, Arizona during the 50’s and 60’s served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam in 1965-66 were he was awarded the Purple Heart and a special commendation for heroism when he defended his position with machine gun fire as many wounded and killed American soldiers lay pinned down by enemy forces. Wathogoma resides in Middle Verde, Arizona after returning to his homeland from California after living there since his return from Vietnam.
Here is another video about Native American Veteran’s Day.