Exandine Shenandoah (Wolf Clan) was in the Pacific fighting the Japanese during World War II. Enlisting in the Marines Corps in 1941 at age 18, Exandine saw action throughout the South Pacific, including Guam and Guadalcanal.
“He joined up because everyone else he knew was enlisting and he wanted to serve his country,” said Lorna Jones (Wolf Clan), Exandine’s niece. “He never talked about the war very much. The only thing he really said was he remembered the women washing their clothes on rocks.”
Exandine was an MP, military police, with the rank of sergeant. While serving in the Pacific, he contracted malaria, which plagued him for the remainder of his life.
Upon his discharge, Exandine returned to the Onondaga Reservation where he grew up and opened a barber shop. He never married nor had children. In the 1970s, he again was stricken by malaria, but this time he couldn’t continue to fight.
“He was in and out of the Veterans’ Hospital before he died,” said Lorna. “But I like to remember him as the guy who could draw and play baseball; the guy all the girls liked.”
A version of this story first appeared in The Oneida, Issue 9, Vol. 8 in November 2005 and was edited for the web.