Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. Annual ceremony planned in memory of Medal of Honor recipient
June 13, 2012
By Franklin Fisher
CAMP RED CLOUD South Korea -- The Army in Area I plans new steps to keep alive the memory of Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., the Soldier whose fight-to-the-death valor in the Korean War was recognized with a posthumous Medal of Honor, and for whom Camp Red Cloud is named.
The ceremony, on a date still to be announced, will be the first of what is intended as an annual event at which the story of Red Cloud's valor -- his "dauntless courage and gallant selfsacrifice" in the language of the Medal of Honor citation -- can be recounted anew for troops assigned to Warrior Country duty into the future.
Col. Hank Dodge, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, who has directed that the yearly ceremony be instituted, said Red Cloud's life and valor offer inspiring lessons for those in uniform, and should not be forgotten.
"It is especially appropriate that we do this here in Area I, on the very installation named in his honor," said Dodge.
"Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud's story deserves to be told, and told again, so that Soldiers now and in the future can draw inspiration from his example, which is, in the words of the Medal of Honor citation, one of 'dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice,' by a fellow-American who, had he lived, would have turned 88 next month."
In addition, plans for an upcoming renovation of Mitchell's Club at Camp Red Cloud are being revised to include a re-design of the foyer to highlight Red Cloud and the fact that the club is named in his honor, said David Roudybush, chief of business operations with the garrison's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Red Cloud was from Wisconsin, a Native-American of the Ho-Chunk tribe, also known as the Winnebago, and a veteran of World War II combat in the Pacific. He saw action as a Marine on Guadalcanal and Okinawa. He was a sergeant when he left the Marines after World War II, but in 1948 he returned to active duty, enlisting in the Army.
It was in the dark of night on November 5, 1950, that Red Cloud's unit, Company E, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, was positioned on the ridge of Hill 123 near Chonghyon, North Korea. Red Cloud was manning a listening post on the point of the ridge, out ahead of his company's main positions. He was armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle.
A Chinese assault force made a coordinated attack on Hill 123 and vicinity, and at least part of that force slipped up on Company E's position from the rear, caught many asleep, and killed them on the spot. Others they shot in the head.
Red Cloud gave Company E its first alarm from his position on the ridge and a group of Chinese burst suddenly from brush about 100 feet away and rushed him.
Red Cloud sprang up and with his rifle poured intense and accurate fire into the onrushing enemy.
He kept up this fire with "utter fearlessness," according to the citation, and when enemy rounds socked into his body he fell, and, refusing help, got himself up, wrapped an arm around a small tree, and continued his point-blank fire until he fell for the last time.
Later, American officers found Chinese dead in front of Red Cloud's body.
According to the citation, Red Cloud's "heroic act stopped the enemy from overrunning his company's position and gained time for reorganization and evacuation of the wounded."
He was buried at a United Nations cemetery in Korea.
In April, 1951, Gen. Omar N. Bradley of World War II fame presented Red Cloud's posthumous Medal of Honor to Red Cloud's mother Lillian "Nellie" Red Cloud at a Pentagon ceremony. Bradley at the time was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In 1955 Red Cloud's body was exhumed, transported to Wisconsin, and interred at the Decorah Cemetery at Winnebago Mission in March of that year.
A few years later, on Armed Forces Day, May 18, 1957, the Army further recognized Red Cloud's valor by giving his name to one of its installations on the peninsula where he'd made his stand-to-the-death, the present-day Camp Red Cloud, in Uijeongbu, South Korea. The post is now headquarters of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, and of the 2nd Infantry Division.
There has been other recognition of Red Cloud's valor over the years, including the naming of veterans posts and parks in his honor.
And in 1999, the U.S. Navy named a newly commissioned Watson-class large, medium-speed Roll-on/Roll-off cargo ship for him: USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR-313). His daughter Annita Red Cloud, christened the ship at San Diego, Calif.
Medal of Honor Citation Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr.
Cpl. Red Cloud, Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. From his position on the point of a ridge immediately in front of the company command post he was the first to detect the approach of the Chinese Communist forces and give the alarm as the enemy charged from a brush-covered area less than 100 feet from him. Springing up he delivered devastating pointblank automatic rifle fire into the advancing enemy. His accurate and intense fire checked this assault and gained time for the company to consolidate its defense. With utter fearlessness he maintained his firing position until severely wounded by enemy fire. Refusing assistance he pulled himself to his feet and wrapping his arm around a tree continued his deadly fire again, until he was fatally wounded. This heroic act stopped the enemy from overrunning his company's position and gained time for reorganization and evacuation of the wounded. Cpl. Red Cloud's dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and upholds the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.