Havre, Montana – Monday afternoon at a special ceremony at Northern Montana Care Center, Dr. James Limbaugh, MSU-Northern Chancellor, and Interim Chairman of the Montana Board of Regents, Paul Tuss extended an offer to Gilbert Horn to receive an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters during Northern’s upcoming Graduation on May 3. This is only the second time in Northern’s 85 year history that they have awarded an honorary doctorate.
Paul Tuss, Interim Chairman of the Montana Board of Regents, started the ceremony by informing the gathered residents, staff and many family members of Mr. Horn, “The Montana University System holds as its highest honor the awarding of an honorary doctorate. The invitation to receive an honorary doctorate reflects the Boards position that Mr. Horn and his achievements reflect favorably on the state of Montana and that he has achieved a level of distinction through service to our state and nation.”
Dr. Jim Limbaugh extended the offer to Mr. Horn and his family by saying, “Mr. Horn, for your service to your country during World War II in your role as a Code Talker and as a member of Merrill’s Marauders, and in recognition of the honor you have brought to the entire state of Montana, it is our pleasure, based on the unanimous vote of the Board of Regents, to offer you the Doctor of Humane Letters. Congratulations. If you accept, you will officially be awarded the honorary degree at our Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 3rd. Your family will be our guests, and our graduating students will be able to celebrate with us your remarkable achievements.”
Mr. Horn signaled his agreement with a simple nod of his head. His family then gifted Dr. Limbaugh with a special hand-beaded bolo tie. Mr. Horn’s great-grandson, Antone Rider, offered an honor song for Mr. Horn. This degree is conferred upon individuals who have distinguished themselves and have made valuable contributions to society.
Gilbert Horn served in the United States Army from 1940 until 1945. He was a member of an all-volunteer unit that was trained in long-range penetration in jungle combat. Known as “Merrill’s Marauders”, this unit led a campaign in the China-Burma-India Theater in Southeast Asia. Originally there were nearly 3,000 soldiers in this unit. Only 126 of them survived and Mr. Horn shares his Presidential Unit Citation and Bronze Star with only 17 other Marauders.
Mr. Horn was a sought-out member of Merrill’s Marauders for his Native American language skills. His native language of Assiniboine was used to send secret military messages, and the soldiers on this highly-valued team were called “Code Talkers”. He also received advanced training as a sharpshooter due to his natural shooting ability, honed by his years of hunting on the reservation. Mr. Horn is also a Purple Heart Recipient. He has served on the Assiniboine Treaty Committee and the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council.
Surrounded by his family members, Mr. Horn will be receiving his honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the 2014 Graduation ceremony at MSU-N on May 3rd.