Korean War veterans honored in Crow tribal ceremony
Thu, 06/29/2017 - 5:00am admin
By Andrew Turck / Big Horn County News
The air rippled Friday morning as a B-1 from Ellsworth Air Force Base’s 28th Bomb Wing Squadron flew over Veterans Park in Crow Agency to punctuate a ceremony organized to honor Crow tribal veterans. Special recognition was given to those who served during the Korean War, fought from 1950-53.
Veterans from this period were awarded with Pendleton blankets. These veterans included Newton Old Crow and David Stewart. As the former chairman from 1972-74 Stewart – at 89 – is perhaps the oldest Crow veteran alive. The Pendletons – designed using a floral pattern on teal green – are limited edition works called “Medicine Horse” blankets designed by Theo Hugs of the River Crow Trading Post in Crow Agency.
“I’m very blessed to be part of this,” said Newton, who was drafted into the U.S. Army during the conflict and stationed in Germany as an anti-aircraft artilleryman. Looking back on his time in the military, he said, “It was exciting. I don’t think I had fear.
“My grandfather was one of the last war chiefs of the Crow Nation – chiefs like Plenty Coups [and] Medicine Crow.”
Further generations of Old Crows have continued the military tradition, such as his son Secretary Knute Old Crow, and Knute’s son Rudy and daughter Holly. Speaking on his time in the Army, Knute said, he entered in a naïve manner, but soon began to take great pride in his service.
As for Stewart, he began as a radio operator in the U.S. Marine Corps, before he was discharged and drafted by the Army. He enjoyed the recognition at the ceremony, he said, and believes the tribe put on “a good program.”
“There were still a lot more who could…have shown up today,” he said. “Perhaps next time.”
According to Stewart, serving in the war taught him to be a “good Indian” and enjoy his time as a veteran in the Crow Tribe. The United States, he said, is “an outstanding country, which I’m very proud of.”
Crow Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid used his speech to stress unity, which he said was what keeps the Crow Tribe and United States strong. A nation divided, he said – as what happened in the 1970s with public opposition to the Vietnam War – causes it to become less effective.
“Today, I believe that when the Crow people decide to be unified, we’ll be that much more ahead,” Not Afraid said. “We’ll be that much more powerful.”
In addition to Newton and Stewart, 10 more veterans were awarded with blankets for their service.