No addressal of the military tradition of Pawnee County could begin anywhere else but with the Pawnee Scouts. Unlike the other plains tribes of native americans, the Pawnee never made war against the United States. Even before the tribe moved from the traditional home in Nebraska to present day Pawnee County Oklahoma in the early 1870s, the Pawnee Scouts had fought with US Army soldiers at their sides in battles against the Southern Cheyenne and the Sioux.
The Scouts were first formed in 1864 through the inspiration of Frank North and his brother who thought that the Pawnee with their pride and bravery would be an excellent fighting force against the other plains tribes. Over the next six years, the Pawnee Scouts would be called up to help subdue one of the warring tribes followed by the Scouts being disbanded. This was the case in 1876, after the Pawnee tribe had been moved to Oklahoma, when word came of the disaster with Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, General Phillip Sheridan called on now Major North to reform the Pawnee Scouts for action against the Sioux and Cheyenne.
Major North quickly came to the Pawnee Agency where he was met by nearly the entire tribe who all wanted to be called up for the coming fight. North carefully chose his warriors and they moved back north to join US Army forces in pursuit of Red Cloud and the other warring tribal bands. The Pawnee Scouts fought major engagements against the Red Cloud Sioux on October 23, 1876, and against the Cheyenne under Little Wolf on November 25, 1876. They then participated in rounding up the scattered bands until they went into winter quarters at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. On April 19, 1877, the Scouts were disbanded once again and they returned to their homes in Pawnee.
Over the next century, members of the Pawnee tribe served in the US Army and other branches of the armed forces in every major conflict. Finally, in 1979, in recognition of the fine tradition set by these early warriors, the "Pawnee Scouts" rose again as a reconnaissance platoon of the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Brigade in the Oklahoma National Guard.
In the event that Joel Orcutt cannot be reached, please e-mail Robert Fender