Warriors In Uniform

Herman J. Viola

Native Americans have willingly served in the U.S. Military during every one of its wars, and their numbers in the armed forces today exceeds the percentage of any other ethnic group.  What inspires these young people to enlist?  One important factor is the opportunity to continue a proud warrior tradition in which the deeds of battle are considered the highest form of bravery - a cultural context that is thrillingly detailed in Warriors In Uniform.

Author Herman J. Viola sets this powerful story against a chronology of conflict from the 1770s to the present, revealing the surprising roles of Native soldiers in America’s two wars with Britian, the poignant reason 15,000 American Indians wore Confederate gray, and the distinction with which they have served in both world wars as well as Korea, Vietnam, Afaganastan, and Iraq.

Warriors In Uniform introduces many heroes:  soldiers who upheld the tradition of “counting coup”, or keeping track of personal battle triumphs; code talkers who sent secret communications in tribal languages; the baseball pitcher who waged a one-man assault with well-aimed hand grenades; the Marine who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima but ultimately could not live with the losses; the first Native woman to die as a soldier. 

Their stories touch on many aspects of Native American life including social issues, spiritual beliefs, family relationships, and the deep respect afforded veterans - for not only are Native Americans intensely patriotic, but they are prouder still to wear the uniform and to celebrate those who wear it, because military service reinforces age-old traditions that unify the entire community.