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Most Decorated Native American Dies (continued) Samuel Blatchford

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  • Most Decorated Native American Dies (continued) Samuel Blatchford

    Samuel Nathan Blatchford died December 23, 2005. Born June 23, 1924, he led a full and remarkable life. He was a Navajo Indian born at Fort Defiance, AZ. Born of the Mud Clan. After a boyhood spent on the reservation and an education in mission schools, he first enlisted in the 7th Cavalry in 1941. He later transferred to the Army Air Corps where he served as a radio operator on a B17 Flying Fortress in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. During WWII he was shot down three times, the last time over Brittany, France. He was rescued by the French Resistance (French Underground) and stayed with them for three months, assisting in subversive activities despite being wounded. He was captured by the Gestapo as he was trying to make his way back to England and was a Prisoner of War interned at Stalag XVII-B for 18 months until he was liberated by the 13th Armored Division of Patton’s 3rd Army. Despite his ordeal, he went on to serve in both the Korean Conflict and the Viet Nam War.
    His military career lasted until his retirement in January 1977 during which he received 28 medals including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, four Purple Hearts, six Air Medals, and the Prisoner of War Medal. In 1990 he was adopted by the Sioux Nation and was given the Yellow Eagle Feather, the highest honor a Lakota warrior can receive.
    Following his military service, he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering his Master’s degree in Business Administration and served as a site manager for Boeing Services International at a USAF installation in Turkey. A highly patriotic man, he remained active throughout the rest of his life in both the military and the Native American communities. While still in the military, he returned to France and reunited with his dear friends in the French Underground. He was honored several times by both the Underground and the French government.
    He is survived by his loving wife, Cecelia Blatchford, his daughter, Natalie Russo, and husband, Garth, of Athens, Georgia; his step-son Wayne Damba and wife, Carlene, of Greensboro, NC; his sister, Edith Sakiestawa and husband, Victor, of Window Rock, AZ; his sister, Ruth Cope of Stockton, KS; his brother, Robert Blatchford and wife, Shirley, of Phoenix, AZ; his sister, Irene Corbett of Scottsdale, AZ; sister Dorothy Ann Blatchford of Phoenix, AZ; and brother, Benjamin Blatchford of Bell Garden, CA. He was predeceased by 2 brothers, Herbert Blatchford and Paul Blatchford and by 2 sisters, Mary Gorman and Ephy Blatchford.
    A memorial service will be held at Holy Rosary Church on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 11 AM. He will later be interred at Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, DC. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Wyoming Catholic College Fund, PO Box 750, Lander WY 82520.

  • #2
    A Great Warrior and Mentor and Memphis Tia Piah Member Dies

    Not only was Sam Blatchford the most decorated American Indian Veteran, he was a great man. He was a member of many veteran's groups and organizations as well as the Memphis Tia Piah Society. He was known as Grandfather Rabbit in the Gourd Dance Circle and he is already missed dearly. He was my sponsor in to the Memphis Tia Piah and it was an honor to have known him and learn from his example of leadership as well as enjoy his wit, wisdom and great sense of humor.

    After the memorial service his daughter, Natalie, showed me this article in the Casper Star Tribune and said it is proabably one of the best pieces ever written about her father. Here is the link... [url]http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2006/01/03/news/wyoming/dc459a30c3678743872570eb00067649.txt

    Hosteen Blatchford, you are loved and missed by many.

    Respectfully,

    David Wahyahneetah Welch
    Last edited by HoopDancer; 01-09-2006, 01:46 PM.

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    • #3
      Hosteen Blatchford will be missed.

      My Family was lucky enough to have crossed paths with Grandpa & Grandma rabbit while he was still at Scott Air Base.
      They were both leaders in the Indian Communitty here in the St. Louis metro area. We were lucky enough to have benifited from their guidance and we are proud to have known them.

      Grandpa rabbit had a presence that surrounded him no matter where he went, no words needed to be said. Not only did he touch peoples lives here in the U.S., people all over the world had there lives touched by this man.

      There are a big set of shoes to fill (David), lets hope someone can make Grandpa proud.

      David thank you for taking the steps needed to be there at the memorial, and do what needed to be done. I know Grandpa is thankful.

      Many songs will be sung over the coming months at Pow Wows, gatherings and in private for Grandpa.

      Grandpa, thank you for your guidance and blessings you bestowed on my family.

      Humbly
      Glen A. Neal

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      • #4
        I will also vouch that Sam was a great guy. I used to pow wow with him around the St. Louis area years ago. When I went away to college and started the pow wow at the University of Missouri, I asked him to come for gourd dancing. When he got to town, he called me and even though I was trying to get the pow wow ready, I went to see him and his wife Dorothy. We talked for some time and I mentioned how my dream was to use the proceeds from the pow wow to create a Native American scholarship at MU as I had a hard time leaving to go to college with no money myself and would not have gone to college had I not received assistance. About 10 days later Dorothy passed away and at the services, I saw that the obituary mentioned sending money for my scholarship. I listened as people spoke of Dorothy's desire for the young to learn their native ways and I decided to ask Sam permission to name the scholarship after her. Not only did he give me permission but also he sought funds to help me start the scholarship and one day drove all the way to MU to give me a bunch of money. He figured he could find me on campus (among the 25,000 students). He went to use the restroom at the administration building when he arrived and noticed that across the hall was the office of an administrator whose name he recognized from the pow wow flyer. He inquired within and they started calling my apartment all day. I finally returned home to the messages 5 minutes after he left. I had to wait for him to get all the way back home to call him and then we talked for hours about a variety of things. Evidently, he talked with the Vice-Provost all day. This Vice-Provost was the school official helping me create the scholarship. The Vice-Provost later told me that he was very glad that he had the opportunity to visit with Sam. Sam was quite a hit in that office, everyone just fell in love with him. I had yet to tell the school that I wanted to name the scholarship after Dorothy and was prepared to stand my ground (I had quite the rocky relationship with the University over native affairs). I later found out that Sam informed them of our talk and they thought it was a wonderful idea to have me name the scholarship after Dorothy. I was thrilled this year to award that scholarship to a Navajo student whose grandfather was a code talker as Sam was so instrumental in helping me create the scholarship. Though I have not seen Sam in a number of years, I will say that he was a great guy and I know many will miss him. I will visit him at Arlington the next time I go there to see my grandparents there.

        Comment


        • #5
          Most Decorated Native American Dies (continued) Samuel Blatchford

          Originally posted by Travis
          I will also vouch that Sam was a great guy. I used to pow wow with him around the St. Louis area years ago. When I went away to college and started the pow wow at the University of Missouri, I asked him to come for gourd dancing. When he got to town, he called me and even though I was trying to get the pow wow ready, I went to see him and his wife Dorothy. We talked for some time and I mentioned how my dream was to use the proceeds from the pow wow to create a Native American scholarship at MU as I had a hard time leaving to go to college with no money myself and would not have gone to college had I not received assistance. About 10 days later Dorothy passed away and at the services, I saw that the obituary mentioned sending money for my scholarship. I listened as people spoke of Dorothy's desire for the young to learn their native ways and I decided to ask Sam permission to name the scholarship after her. Not only did he give me permission but also he sought funds to help me start the scholarship and one day drove all the way to MU to give me a bunch of money. He figured he could find me on campus (among the 25,000 students). He went to use the restroom at the administration building when he arrived and noticed that across the hall was the office of an administrator whose name he recognized from the pow wow flyer. He inquired within and they started calling my apartment all day. I finally returned home to the messages 5 minutes after he left. I had to wait for him to get all the way back home to call him and then we talked for hours about a variety of things. Evidently, he talked with the Vice-Provost all day. This Vice-Provost was the school official helping me create the scholarship. The Vice-Provost later told me that he was very glad that he had the opportunity to visit with Sam. Sam was quite a hit in that office, everyone just fell in love with him. I had yet to tell the school that I wanted to name the scholarship after Dorothy and was prepared to stand my ground (I had quite the rocky relationship with the University over native affairs). I later found out that Sam informed them of our talk and they thought it was a wonderful idea to have me name the scholarship after Dorothy. I was thrilled this year to award that scholarship to a Navajo student whose grandfather was a code talker as Sam was so instrumental in helping me create the scholarship. Though I have not seen Sam in a number of years, I will say that he was a great guy and I know many will miss him. I will visit him at Arlington the next time I go there to see my grandparents there.
          Grandpa Rabbit was my adopted grandfather and the finest men I have ever met. He was patient and kind, humble and the best example I could ever hoped for in an Indian man. Although I have not seen him in years, not a day goes by when I dont think about him and grandma Rabbit and their kindness to me. To say that they don't build 'em like they used to is an understatement. He was the best man I ever met and I pray that I live to be a 1/10th of the example he was to me. He will be missed terribly.

          Wado, Agiduda SaMi
          Because of our treaty status, the distinction of being 'Cherokee' is a status of citizenship, not a racial issue.

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