Joe Medicine Crow (Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird, 1913 - present) is a Crow historian and author, war chief of the Crow tribe and enrolled member of the Crow Nation, and a decorated WWII veteran (Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bronze Star Medal and Légion d’Honneur).
Joe Medicine Crow joined the US Army as a scout in the 103rd Infantry Division. Whenever he went into battle, Medicine Crow would always war traditional war paint beneath his uniform and a sacred eagle feather under his helmet. He distinguished himself in battle against the Germans in the spring of 1945. In doing so, however, he also completed the four tasks required of a Crow Indian to become a war chief. He touched a living enemy and disarmed him by turning a corner and knocking into a German soldier. The collision knocked the German’s weapon out of his hands, and Medicine Crow lowered his own gun and engaged him in hand-to-hand combat. Medicine Crow got the better of the German and would have killed him by choking, but he heard the man cry the word “mama” and let him go. Medicine Crow also led a successful war party and stole an enemy’s horse when he led a midnight raid on a German battalion with the specific purpose to capture the animals. As he rode off, Crow sang a traditional Crow honor song. In completing these task, Joe Medicine Crow became that last warrior chief of his tribe.
“No one wins [in war]. Both sides lose. The Indians, so called hostiles, won the battle of the day, but lost their way of life.” - Joe Medicine Crow