Lionel F “Choo Choo” Pinn

Lionel F “Choo Choo” Pinn
S.O.G. has more than its fair share of interesting and amazing men. One of those was Lionel F “Choo Choo” Pinn. He was full blooded Native American Indian (Micmac & Algonquin) and was a member of one of the first Special Forces Groups in WW2, The Alamo Scouts and Darby’s Rangers. He was with the Rangers in the Korean War, and was one of the first Green Berets in Vietnam, as well as operating with MACV-SOG. Choo Choo fought in three wars, earning a triple CIB, was captured, tortured and escaped in each war, and received over a half dozen purple hearts, some say nine. He wrote a book about his life called “Hear The Bugles Calling” which you can get on Amazon. Choo Choo’s Native American name was Chief Red Hawk.
Lionel Pinn also played a part in the early history of the Special Operations Association. In 1977 Jim Butler (SOA Founder) was looking for a location to hold the first “formal” SOA reunion (it had been incorporated as a (501)C3 in 1976). Lionel was one of the security directors at Caesars Palace and introduced Butler to its owners, the Perlman brothers. The Perlman’s loved the idea and struck a bargain with the group. The first two SOAR’s (1977 & 1978) were held at Caesars Palace.
Lionel F “Choo Choo” Pinn passed away in 1999 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Hear the Bugles Calling: My Three Wars as a Combat Infantryman Paperback – August 1, 2007

Sergeant Lionel “Chooch” Pinn was an American warrior, an Osage Indian whose career as an army sergeant met the high standards set by his father’s example as a World War I veteran. Reared in the crucible of the Great Depression and case-hardened in hand-to-hand combat against the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII, Pinn went on to fight as a foot soldier in Korea, Laos, and Vietnam. Pinn recounts these wars as only an infantry soldier could. His gritty account of fighting in distant corners of the world is a journey through America’s tumultuous last half of the 20th century. Sgt. Pinn’s memoir, exciting, horrifying, upsetting, is a testament to the uncompromising fighting spirit of U.S. soldiers.


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