Jake McNiece and the Filthy Thirteen (1919-2013)
“The Lord had two places for putting people, heaven or hell. He was afraid to put me in either of them because he was afraid I'd goof them up,” said Maysville native and longtime Ponca City resident James E. “Jake” McNiece. The Nazi hosts whom the mostly-Irish, part-Choctaw Indian terrorized in World War II would likely agree with his words.
Leader of an elite paratrooper demolition unit, the hard-drinking 101st Airborne brawler eluded the brig and repeated busts from sergeant to buck private long enough to make four epic parachute jumps. He destroyed German reinforcement bridges at Normandy, helped save his fellow 101st “Battered B------s of Bastogne,” during the Battle of the Bulge, wreaked havoc behind enemy lines for a year, and inspired the epic novel and film The Dirty Dozen.
Inspired by his part-Choctaw mother’s heritage, he and his men gave themselves Mohawk haircuts and adorned their faces with war paint before jumps. “I jumped in with twenty men and came out with two,” he said of his unit’s epic D-Day exploits.
Pre-war captain of the Ponca City High football team and president of his senior class, he held several local and federal leadership posts in Ponca City during his long postwar career.
The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book
Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
which can be purchased HERE.
View the inspiring 2-minute preview video HERE.