I enjoy a great friendship with a Pawnee, soldier, and brother. Joe Hawkins earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his actions in combat. He is also one of the star players in the movie “Playground of the Native Son”. That movie tells the story of the 1927 Semi-Pro football team of indigenous men who defeated the, then world champions, New York Giants. By the way, we are playing that movie November 11th at the Hominy Community Center. We will be raffling tickets for a beautiful Native “Village” Quilt (Thanks Juanita!).
So now on this week in history another patriot from Pawnee, Evan Edwin, did great things. He was a Commander, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 August 1908, Pawnee, Ok. He had other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Bronze Star Medal. But for the Medal of Honor “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Johnston in action against major units of the enemy Japanese fleet during the battle off Samar on 25 October 1944.
The first to lay a smokescreen and to open fire as an enemy task force, vastly superior in number, firepower and armor, rapidly approached. Comdr. Evans gallantly diverted the powerful blasts of hostile guns from the lightly armed and armored carriers under his protection, launching the first torpedo attack when the Johnston came under straddling Japanese shellfire.”
Undaunted by damage sustained under the terrific volume of fire, he unhesitatingly joined others of his group to provide fire support during subsequent torpedo attacks against the Japanese and, outshooting and outmaneuvering the enemy as he consistently interposed his vessel between the hostile fleet units and our carriers despite the crippling loss of engine power and communications with steering aft, shifted command to the fantail, shouted steering orders through an open hatch to men turning the rudder by hand and battled furiously until the Johnston, burning and shuddering from a mortal blow, lay dead in the water after 3 hours of fierce combat.
Seriously wounded early in the engagement, Comdr. Evans, by his indomitable courage and brilliant professional skill, aided materially in turning back the enemy during a critical phase of the action. His valiant fighting spirit throughout this historic battle will venture as an inspiration to all who served with him.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in October are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians).
Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the storms bring strong winds and lightning. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.