Navajo ace pilot Johnny Cloud debuts in All American Men of War 82 (Nov/Dec 60), in a story by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick.
A World War II series with a native protagonist, the series confronts racism head on, but also has plenty of fighting action. We see Johnny as a young boy, who repeatedly sees a vision of a flying horseman in the clouds. He grows up to become a fight pilot.
Throughout his life, he has to deal with whites attacking and mocking him, and he grows to hate the nickname ‘chief,’ which he is always endowed with. Johnny expected that this would change as he become a man and entered the army.
To his dismay, he finds that nothing has changed, and the ground crew has painted “Flying Chief” on the side of his plane.
In his first battle, he proves his skills as a flier. The flight leader, Mack, who had lead the men in mocking him, dies in the battle.
Johnny’s aerial skill impresses the rest of the squadron enough that they appoint him the new flight leader, and start calling themselves the Happy Braves. With that kind of support, Johnny has no trouble accepting the title chief.