Cpl Mitchell Red Cloud Jr’s Congressional Medal of Honor

Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr, was awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor with the U.S. Army’s 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War.  Cpl Red Cloud also saw combat during World War II as a U.S. Marine, seeing action on Guadalcanal and Okinawa. Above photo shows Sgt. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. during his Marine Corps service. He enlisted in the US Army in 1948 (Photo Credit: U.S. Army).


Dauntless Courage and Gallant Self-Sacrifice…

Position of the 2-19 Infantry Regiment north of the Chongchon River where Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. was killed in action (North Korea). map from the website www.rokdrop.net

These are words in the Citation from President Harry S Truman when he awarded Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr for the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his acts of valor on the night of November 5, 1950, on Hill 123 near Chongchon, North Korea (See Map).

From the account from www.army.mil website:

“It was in the dark of night on November 5, 1950, that Red Cloud’s unit, Company E, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, was positioned on the ridge of Hill 123 near Chonghyon, North Korea. Red Cloud was manning a listening post on the point of the ridge, out ahead of his company’s main positions. He was armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle [B.A.R.].

A Chinese assault force made a coordinated attack on Hill 123 [2/19 position from above map] and vicinity, and at least part of that force slipped up on Company E’s position from the rear, caught many asleep, and killed them on the spot. Others they shot in the head.

Red Cloud gave Company E its first alarm from his position on the ridge and a group of Chinese burst suddenly from brush about 100 feet away and rushed him.

Red Cloud sprang up and with his rifle poured intense and accurate fire into the onrushing enemy.”


Cpl Red Cloud had been hit several times and he refused to be removed from his position despite being treated by a medic.  He had been hit in the chest twice and while he could not stand up because of his wounds he ordered a soldier nearby to tie him to a nearby tree with a webbed belt in order to continue to fire at the Red Chinese who were rushing his position.  He laid down covering fire after he ordered his men to retreat from the position.

Eventually he was killed and the position was overrun by the Red Chinese.  The next morning when his unit returned to the position after a counter attack there were about 30 Chinese soldiers dead near Red Cloud’s body.  He had been shot a total of 8 times.

His action had warned his company of a surprise attack, and allowed the wounded to be evacuated from the position and allowed the 2nd Battalion to mount a counterattack repelling the Red Chinese.

The Chongchon River can be seen at the very bottom of the map which is located just north of the North Korean capitol city of Pyongyang. To the northwest of the river the positions of the 19th Infantry Regiment on November 1, 1950 can be seen. Map via Wikipedia (from www.rokdrop.net website)

For a more in-depth details about Corporal Red Cloud Jr’s Medal of Honor action go to the following website http://www.rokdrop.net/2012/11/heroes-of-the-korean-war-corporal-mitchell-red-cloud-jr/

Previous Service in World War II, 1941-45

Mitchell dropped out of school to enlist in the Marine Corps at just 17 years old.  He needed his dad’s permission in order enlist.  He went to boot camp on August 11, 1941.  His first assignment was at Camp Elliot near San Diego, California.  When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, then Private First Class Red Cloud was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and was deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations.


He landed with “Carlson’s Raiders” on Guadalcanal on November 4, 1942.  Their mission was to silence the Japanese artillery firing onto Henderson Field.  It was called the “Long March,” as it went for 28 days.  Red Cloud suffered from malaria and jaundice throughout much of the month and had to be evacuated on December 4th, he had lost 75 pounds.  There were ferocious battles during the month.

In January 1943 it was recommended that Red Cloud be medically discharged due to his physical condition, and he refused.  So he was redeployed for the next big battle: Okinawa.


On May 17, 1945 Private First Class Red Cloud Jr was a radio operator in combat he was hit in the shoulder and had to be medically evacuated to Guam for eventual shipment back to the States, earning a Purple Heart.

Discharge from the Marines

On November 9, 1945 he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps at the rank of Sergeant.

Post war there was a short period of unemployment being there were so many returning US Servicemen.  Mitchell returned to the Ho-Chunk Reservation in Hatfield Wisconsin, about 11 miles NE of Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  According to Historynet.com he roamed the state of Wisconsin over 2 years visiting relatives, and publishing an article in the Wisconsin archeologist about his tribe’s stories in December 1945.  He got married and had a daughter Annita.

In 1948 Mitchell Red Cloud Jr enlisted in the US Army and was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division.  He served in an occupation force in Japan until the Korean War broke on June 25, 1950.

He returned to combat serving the 2/19th in several battles until his Medal of Honor action.

Early Life

Mitchell Jr was the eldest of 3 children born to Mitchell Red Cloud & Nellie (nee Winneshiek).  He was born on July 2, 1924 in Hatfield Wisconsin on the Ho-Chunk Nation(Winnebago) Reservation.  Some accounts list him as being born in 1925, but that would put his entry into WW2 at 16 not 17 as the latter was allowed by consent of a parent.

Mitchell was easy going, never to show anger.  He excelled in sports, swimming, and hunting.  He attended Nellsville High School in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, until he dropped out to join the Army.  At the time the United States was still neutral.

Posthumous Honors

Corporal Red Cloud Jr was buried in a UN cemetery in Korea in 1950.  In 1955 his remains were exhumed and transferred for burial at the Decorah Cemetery at Winnebago Mission, Wisconsin in the customs of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

In April 1951, his mother was present when Mitchell Red Cloud Jr was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by General Omar Bradley at a ceremony at the Pentagon.

On Armed Forces Day in 1957, a military installation in South Korea was named after him, Camp Red Cloud.

A park in Lacrosse Wisconsin was named after Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., and a portion of Highway 54 in Wisconsin was named after him.

The American Legion Post in Adams Wisconsin was renamed in his honor.  The Ho-Chunk Nation observe every July 4th as Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr Day.

A Watson Class USN Roll on Roll off ship was named in his honor.  His daughter Annita christened the ship on August 7, 1999.

The USS Red Cloud (T-AKR 313) is a RORO or Roll On Roll Off ship that transports War Material and Combat Ready Vehicles. Commissioned on August 7, 1999.

We used Wikipedia, http://www.rokdrop.net/2012/11/heroes-of-the-korean-war-corporal-mitchell-red-cloud-jr/, and the army website mention above, as references.


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