Joe Medicine Crow (1 Viewer)

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


The Pop-Tart Whisperer
Feb 19, 2007
Southern New Jersey
Joseph Medicine Crow (October 27, 1913 – April 3, 2016) was a Native American writer, historian and war chief of the Crow Tribe. He was the last war chief of the Crow Tribe and the last Plains Indian war chief.

After spending the latter half of 1942 working in the naval ship yards in Bremerton, Washington, Medicine Crow joined the U.S. Army in 1943. He became a scout in the 103rd Infantry Division, and fought in World War II. Whenever he went into battle, he wore his war paint (two red stripes on his arms) beneath his uniform and a sacred yellow painted eagle feather, provided by a "sundance" medicine man, beneath his helmet.

Medicine Crow completed all four tasks required to become a war chief: touching an enemy without killing him (counting coup), taking an enemy's weapon, leading a successful war party, and stealing an enemy's horse. Joe was 34 years old; the old man of his company.

He touched a living enemy soldier and disarmed him after turning a corner and finding himself face to face with a young German soldier. His unit hit a little town with just one main street. He did not want to participate in such a raid but instead asked his superior's permission to have a little extra time to accomplish a deed. The Commanding Officer (C.O.) sent him around the street and down an alley. He saw an opening in a gate and a German was doing the same thing. They bumped heads and Joe gave him a butt stroke with his rifle and knocked the enemy's rifle out of his hand.

He also led a successful war party and stole fifty horses owned by the Waffen SS from a German camp, singing a traditional Crow honor song as he rode off. Medicine Crow was scouting ahead of his company when he saw some Germans riding horses along a road. It was near dark so he followed them to a ranch with a shed, unsaddled and then went inside. The idea was to attack early in the morning while the enemy was still sleeping. He asked the Captain to give him five minutes before daylight and he would take care of those horses. The time came and he took a fellow soldier to help him. They went to the shed and crawled in. He got on a horse with a little rope, fashioning a double half hitch for an Indian bridle. Then he started the horses out, gave a big war whoop and took off. They chased those horses over the hill and out of site.

For his efforts during the war he earned a Bronze Star and in 1948 he was given the prestigious French Legion of Honor for his services. He was appointed Crow Tribal Historian and Anthropologist in 1948 and the last Crow War Chief. Dr. Medicine Crow has received many special awards in his time, an honorary doctorate in 2003 from the University of California and in August of 2009 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington D.C.

Medicine Crow is the last member of the Crow tribe to become a war chief. He was interviewed and appeared in the 2007 Ken Burns PBS series The War, describing his World War II service.

Last edited:
Dr. Medicine Crow has received many special awards in his time, among them a Gold Congressional Medal of Honor, an honorary doctorate in 2003 from the University of California and in August of 2009 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington D.C.

There is no such award as a "Gold Congressional Medal of Honor".

As stated in the article you linked, on July 17, 2008, Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Mike Enzi introduced a bill to award him the Congressional Gold Medal; however, the bill did not garner the required sponsorship of two-thirds of the senate to move forward.

The Medal of Honor and the Congressional Gold Medal are two separate awards, with very distinctly different award criteria.

The Medal of Honor is the United States armed forces' highest military decoration and is awarded to recognize American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, national guardsmen, and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States* and is presented "in the name of the United States Congress".

The Congressional Gold Medal is the oldest and highest civilian award in the United States, alongside the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

* The Medal of Honor (that's the official name)** is approved to be awarded either by the service branch of the proposed recipient (within normal time limitations) or by a special Act of Congress authorizing the appropriate service branch to ignore the time limit for that specific case) - in only the latter is Congress involved at all, but it is still the service branch that makes the final award determination. Joe Medicine Crow was never nominated for the Medal of Honor.

** Yes, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, made up of those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, is incorrectly named.
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread