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"Wherever they wanted someone I was right there, because I wanted to know what was going on - I really enjoyed it." (Video interview, Part 1, 47:57)

   Gilbert Horn, Sr.
Collection image
Gilbert Horn at time of interview
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Company D, 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division; 161st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division; 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) (Merrill's Marauders)
Service Location: Burma; Southeast Asia; China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater
Rank: Private
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Gilbert Horn, Sr. joined the Army National Guard in 1940 at the age of 17 for the opportunity to see the world. With the 161st Infantry Regiment, he fought on Guadalcanal, where his unit employed him and another Siouan language speaker as Code Talkers. He also served on New Georgia, before volunteering for the unit that became known as “Merrill’s Marauders” in late 1943, with whom he took part in special operations in the China-Burma-India Theater behind enemy lines. Service with the Marauders demanded versatility, and Horn found himself performing the functions of a rifleman, combat medic, and radio operator. After his military service, Horn served on the Assiniboine Treaty Committee, Fort Belknap Community Council, and as a tribal judge. Horn was named as the chief of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe in 2014, the first chief the tribe had named in more than 125 years.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
» Part 1 |  Part 2 
Download: video(1) | 
Download: video(2) (63 min.)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Childhood at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation; joining the Army National Guard in September 1940 for an opportunity to travel; being mobilized immediately upon joining the National Guard and training at Camp Murray near Fort Lewis, Washington for over a year. (-35:-45) Volunteering for duty in the Philippines in September 1941, but being sent to Hawaii instead; riding on the USS Tasker H. Bliss (AP-42) to Hawaii, getting seasick; helping to clean up the wreckage from after the Pearl Harbor attack; being quartered in the Primo Brewery in Honolulu. (02:59) Fighting on Guadalcanal with the 161st Regimental Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division; seeing a friend from home who was serving with the Marines on the island; jungle combat; importance of physical conditioning. (03:50)
Experiences during the New Georgia campaign; story of the 3rd Battalion, 169th Infantry Regiment; being wounded by shrapnel to the head. (07:01) Jungle survival training in New Georgia after the battle was over; being taught to survive off the land by eating insects and plants. (02:38) Arriving in India for duty with 5307th Composite Unit (“Merrill’s Marauders”); the unique organization of Merrill’s Marauders; description of operations behind Japanese lines; importance of medical staff and the “bush pilots” who resupplied them; performing first aid functions and battlefield amputations himself; learning battlefield medical techniques as a youth from his grandfather. (09:32)
Motivation that kept him going through the war; dangers of disease in China-Burma-India Theater; memories of the assault on Myitkyina airfield and the heavy casualties the Marauders sustained there. (04:58) Working as a Code Talker with fellow Siouan language speaker Gerald Red Elk while on Guadalcanal. (05:09) 

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  October 26, 2011
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