Since both Veterans Day and Native American Month are celebrated this month, it seems appropriate to share the story of twenty-nine Native American veterans.
In early 1942, during the World War II, in the Pacific theater of war, the United States could not find a reliable code for transmission. A small group of bilingual Navajo speakers were recruited by the Marines to develop an unbreakable code based around their language. This code was very successful, because the difficult Navajo language could not be understood. All 29 members of the Code Talkers received a Gold Medal.
Today, only one of those Navajo Code Talkers remains alive. His name is Chester Nez and he is 90 years old. Ever the patriot, Chester Nez went on to serve in the Marine Reserve and fought in the Korean War in the 1950’s.
There is a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers located in Window Rock, Arizona.
By Lois Jamieson