A Service Flag Story- Private "Dog Eyes"

Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota. Home of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (RST).

    During my research, I discovered an article that appeared in the Des Moines Register on December 15th, 1918 titled "Sad Days for PVT. Dog Eyes - Little Service Flag Means Nothing to Warrior". With mention of the flag, it caught my attention leading me on a journey to unearth the story behind another service flag.

   Born September 15th, 1883 to Matthew and Ellen Dog-Eyes, he would enlist in the Army on September 21st, 1917 at the age of 34. Leaving the Rosebud Indian Reservation, he left behind loving parents, and his only brother Alexander. His mother, having much trepidation in seeing her son off to war, already coped with heart break on an enormous scale. Having born six children, only her two sons Charles and Alexander survived.

    Charles would serve with the 2nd Cavalry Training Troop, the only regiment in WWI to conduct cavalry operations during the war. He would set out for war on April 30th, 1918 aboard the USS Kroonland returning seven months later on the USS Huron after serving in France.

    From the Port of Embarkation in Hoboken, NJ. he would travel to Fort Des Moines, Iowa. It was here that he received the news that was fitting of the article titled "Sad Days for PVT Dog-Eyes". While serving in France, both his parents, Matthew and Ellen died.

    As written in the Des Moines Register, 1918:

"Private Dog Eyes", repeated the officer, "Will you please come here a moment". The young Indian in Uncle Sam's uniform strode in and stood stiffly at attention. And thus came about my meeting with Private Dog-Eyes from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and who is just back from France. He was in the office to ask for a discharge. The fighting is over. Private Dog-Eyes would return to the wide open, rolling prairies, the land of his forefathers where there is much peace and quiet and he takes orders from no one. 

    But his homecoming will be a sad one. For his old father and mother both died while their son was in France. Died of broken hearts some of their neighbors said, unable to fathom the ways of war and why their son had been taken from them. The little house on the prairie will be silent and empty when Private Dog-Eyes returns home". 

 Charles Dog-Eyes returned to the Rosebud Reservation and in June of 1922, he married Alice Little Chief. For his remaining years, he farmed the land just as he had done before leaving the reservation to fight in France. On March 10th, 1948, he would pass at the age of 64. Charles Dog-Eyes is buried in the Saint Thomas Catholic Church Cemetery in Corn Creek, Mellette County, South Dakota.



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