FEBRUARY 9, 1945


Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma (OK), June 13, 1923, John, who has been identified as being either Cherokee, Choctaw, or Muskogee (Creek), enlisted in the US Army in 1942. With Company B, 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division, he was engaged in an attack on Paco Railroad Station, Manila, then-defended by 300 enemy soldiers with machine guns supported by several pill boxes. When his platoon’s frontal assault was halted 100 yards from the station by intense enemy fire, Reese and a comrade went forward to a house 60 yards from the objective and began firing at targets of opportunity. They then advanced to within 20 yards of the station. Their combined fire killed over 80 Japanese soldiers before a shortage of ammunition forced them to turn back. Reese was killed reloading his rifle while trying to return to American lines. On October 19, 1945, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Reese is buried at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, OK.

  “John N. Reese, Jr.,” Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3/21/2021, Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame (okhistory.org)
Darren Thompson, “American Indians Have Storied History in the Military,” Native News Online, 11/12/2020. Retrieved 3/21/2021, American Indians Have Storied History in the Military | Currents (nativenewsonline.net)
Photo: U.S. Army, 1942-5. Public Domain.  

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