Native Americans serve in military special forces at high rate

Michael Thornton, who is Cherokee, is a Navy SEAL veteran who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous service during the Vietnam War. Photo from Facebook

American Indians and Alaska Natives enlist in the military at higher per capita rates than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States, according to the Defense Department.

The high rate of service translates to the military's special forces. According to data provided to USA Today, four percent of the enlisted Navy SEALs are Native Americans.

Native Americans represent just 1.2 percent of the general population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so they are far more likely to advance to the elite units than other groups.

Additionally, another 53 Native Americans serve in the Special Operation Forces, USA Today reported.

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Pentagon's elite forces lack diversity (USA Today 8/6)

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