Master Gunnery Sergeant Vernon Tsoodle was born between Carnegie and Mountain View, Oklahoma, as a full-blooded member of the Kiowa Indian Tribe. He attended the Chilocco Indian School north of Newkirk, Oklahoma, where, at the age of 15 he joined the all-Indian company of the 45th Infantry Division. In 1949 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, and the following year was deployed to Korea, where he participated in the defense of the Puson Peninsula.
Later, for his heroic action in the Chosin reservoir area, he was awarded the Bronze Star. His service after the Korean War was as a field radio operator and cryptographer. He served in Vietnam as communications chief for an artillery battery, and ultimately retired with 23 years of service. He later served with the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Anadarko. In 1996, realizing there was no national organization open to all tribes whose members served in the Marine Corps, he was part of a core group that established the Native American Marine Corps Veterans Organization.