Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity

Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble

Woodrow W. Keeble

Master Sergeant Woodrow Keeble is one of the most decorated Soldiers in North Dakota history. A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he was born in 1917 in Waubay, S.D., on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Reservation, which extended into North Dakota. He spent most of his life in the Wahpeton, N.D. area, where he attended an Indian school. In 1942 Keeble joined the North Dakota National Guard, and in October that year, found himself embroiled in some of the fiercest hand-to-hand combat of World War II on Guadalcanal.

During the final allied offensive of the Korean War, Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble risked his life to save his fellow Soldiers. On October 20, 1951, he was an acting platoon leader for the support platoon in Company G, 19th Infantry, in the attack on Hill 765, a steep and rugged position that was well defended by the enemy. When the attacking elements had become pinned down by heavy enemy fire, Master Sergeant Keeble conducted a one-man assault, crawling through heavy enemy fire to throw grenades and destroy three well-fortified and strategically place enemy positions. Inspired by his courage, Company G successfully moved forward and seized its important objective.

For actions in combat, Master Sergeant Keeble received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Almost six decades after his gallant actions and 26 years after his death, Keeble became the first full-blooded Sioux Indian to receive the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on March 3, 2008.

Kurt Bluedog and Russell Hawkins respond to questions from the media outside the White House

Kurt Bluedog and Russell Hawkins respond to questions from the media outside the White House on March 3, 2008, following a Medal of Honor presentation ceremony. The men accepted the medal from the president on behalf of Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble. Keeble was Bluedog's great-uncle and Hawkins' stepfather, and he is the first full- blooded Sioux Indian to earn the nation's highest military honor. Keeble enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard in 1942.

Citation:

Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Sangsan-ni, Korea, on October 20, 1951. On that day, Master Sergeant Keeble was an acting platoon leader for the support platoon in Company G, 19th Infantry, in the attack on Hill 765, a steep and rugged position that was well defended by the enemy. Leading the support platoon, Master Sergeant Keeble saw that the attacking elements had become pinned down on the slope by heavy enemy fire from three well-fortified and strategically placed enemy positions. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Master Sergeant Keeble dashed forward and joined the pinned-down platoon. Then, hugging the ground, Master Sergeant Keeble crawled forward alone until he was in close proximity to one of the hostile machine-gun emplacements. Ignoring the heavy fire that the crew trained on him, Master Sergeant Keeble activated a grenade and threw it with great accuracy, successfully destroying the position. Continuing his one-man assault, he moved to the second enemy position and destroyed it with another grenade. Despite the fact that the enemy troops were now directing their firepower against him and unleashing a shower of grenades in a frantic attempt to stop his advance, he moved forward against the third hostile emplacement, and skillfully neutralized the remaining enemy position. As his comrades moved forward to join him, Master Sergeant Keeble continued to direct accurate fire against nearby trenches, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Inspired by his courage, Company G successfully moved forward and seized its important objective. The extraordinary courage, selfless service, and devotion to duty displayed that day by Master Sergeant Keeble was an inspiration to all around him and reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble's full Medal of Honor website