Commander Of Company H, First Infantry
BISHINIK March 2000
Soon after Oklahoma became a state, a young Choctaw man named Walter Veach helped organize Company H, First Infantry (Durant, Oklahoma’s first National Guard Unit) and served as its commander.
Under his command, Company H put down the Crazy Snake uprising near Henryetta in the old Creek Nation, and later was detailed to patrol the border between the United States and Mexico. The company had a major hand in stopping the Pancho Villa invasion of Texas.
In 1917, the company merged with the Texas 36th Division and was sent to Europe. Veach, now a Captain, was told to organize an all-Indian company of members of 11 Oklahoma Indian tribes.
This all-Indian company was Company E. The company saw much activity during the war, and received recognition for the use of Indian language as a “code” to confound the Germans who were tapping in on their field telephone lines.
The record of Company E played a role in granting full United States citizenship to Indians – a Congressional act finally passed in 1924.
Walter Veach passed away in October 1966. This information was submitted by his daughter, Jeanette Veach Brinkerhoff.