This Week in History: Navajo Code Talkers Day
People's World - 14 AUG 2017
Each year, August 14th is recognized as Navajo Code Talkers
Day in gratefulness for the role native Navajo speakers played
during World War II.
The term “code talkers” is strongly associated with bilingual
Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the
Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the
Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Cherokee
and Choctaw Indians during World War I.
Philip Johnston, a civil engineer for the city of Los
Angeles, proposed the use of the Navajo language to the U.S. Marine
Corps at the beginning of World War II. Johnston, a World War I
veteran, was raised on the Navajo reservation as the son of a
Christian missionary to the Navajo. He was one of the rare
non-Navajo who spoke the language fluently.
Navajo has a complex grammar, and is not mutually
intelligible enough with even its closest relatives within the
Na-Dene linguistic family. It was still an unwritten language, and
Johnston thought Navajo could satisfy the military requirement for
an undecipherable code. Navajo was spoken only on the Navajo lands
of the American Southwest. Its syntax and tonal qualities, not to
mention dialects, made it unintelligible to anyone without extensive
exposure and training. One estimate indicates that at the outbreak
of World War II, fewer than 30 non-Navajo could understand the
VA’s Rule Establishes a Presumption of Service Connection for
Diseases Associated with Exposure to Contaminants in the Water
Supply at Camp Lejeune
VA to provide disability benefits for related
Veteran's Administration - 14 MAR 2017
VA regulations to establish presumptions for the service
connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to
contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. are effective
as of today.
“Establishing these presumptions is a demonstration of our
commitment to care for those who have served our Nation and have
been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The Camp Lejeune
presumptions will make it easier for those Veterans to receive the
care and benefits they earned.”
The presumption of service connection applies to active duty,
Reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a
minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug.1, 1953 and Dec. 31,
1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:...
WW II B-17 Survival Story
War History Online - First Published 17 OCT 2014
Virtually cut in half by a mid air collision with a
German Fighter it got the crew home!
Learn About the United States Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the five branches of America’s armed
forces. It has responsible for protecting the shores,
inland waterways and maritime interests of the country
since 1790, preceding the U.S. Navy by eight years. It
currently is the only branch of the military that is
also part of U.S. Homeland Security, and continues to
enforce federal law in U.S. waters.
Along with enforcing laws and saving lives in U.S. waters, a
law in 1939 put the Coast Guard in charge of America’s
maritime aids, including lighthouses. In 1946, Congress
expanded the Coast Guard’s duties again by making it
responsible for marine licensing
and merchant vessel
safety. The Coast Guard
works closely with the Navy in times of war, or at the
direction of the President. It has done this since the
war of 1812, when the cutters joined the Navy to protect
the United States. Coast Guard sailors have participated
in every U.S. conflict since, including Operation Iraqi
The Last Original Navajo Code Talker Has Died
The Huffington Post - 04 JUN 2014
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The language he once was punished for
speaking in school became Chester Nez's primary weapon in World
Before hundreds of men from the Navajo Nation became Code Talkers,
Nez and 28 others were recruited to develop a code based on the
then-unwritten Navajo language. Locked in a room for 13 weeks,
they came up with an initial glossary of more than 200 terms
using Navajo words for red soil, war chief, braided hair and
hummingbird, for example, and an alphabet.
Nez never tired of telling the story to highlight his pride in
having served his country and stress the importance of
preserving the Navajo language. The 93-year-old died Wednesday
morning of kidney failure with plenty of appearances still
scheduled, said Judith Avila, who helped Nez publish his
memoirs. He was the last of the original group of 29 Navajo Code
Code Talkers Honored With Congressional Gold Medals
Chad Garland, Cronkite
News - 26 NOV 2013
Warren Kooyaquaptewa did not live long enough to be honored by
his country for his military service, but his daughter said Nov.
20 that the Hopi man would have been proud to see that day
Kooyaquaptewa was one of more than 200 Native American code
talkers, including 12 men from three Arizona tribes, to be
honored with Congressional Gold Medals Nov. 20 for their
service in the World Wars, a long-kept military secret. Almost
all of the medals were awarded posthumously....
Remaining Navajo Code Talker Reflects from His NM Home
on Days of Service
The Republic - 13 NOV 2011
Albuquerque, N.M. — With gnarled fingers, Chester Nez
reverently opened the small box his son Mike had fetched
for him at their West Mesa home. Even at 90 years old,
Nez's face still beams as he proudly opens it.
not to touch the gold medal, Nez shares a secret.
other side it says, 'We used our language to defeat the
enemy,' and that's what we did," he said.
carefully puts the lid back on the box and hands it to
his son for safekeeping. Inside is a Congressional Gold
Medal — one of only 29 in existence — given to Nez by
then-President George W. Bush during a White House
ceremony July 26, 2001.
the "original 29? Navajo Code Talkers, the men who
developed and implemented the code that confounded the
Japanese during World War II and was never broken,
received the medals that day.
moment that speaks to the reverence Nez holds for his
country, instead of shaking the president's hand after
being handed the medal, he saluted Bush as his
ceremony took place, five of the "original 29? were
living. Today, only Nez remains....
NEW UPDATE: Shack Rat Crew
At Last Laid to Rest on Home Soil
Services Held at Arlington
National Cemetery on 03 & 04 August 2011 for Recovered Pilot
of WWII B-24 Bomber
42-40918, the "Shack Rat"—With Photo Gallery
SENAA International - 06 AUG 2011
During the week of 01-05 August 2011, families of the pilot
and crew of the B-24 Liberator Bomber
42-40918, "Shack Rat", convened at Arlington, Virginia, to
finally lay to rest their lost loved ones on American soil. All 12 of the airmen
have now been brought home and laid to rest on their home soil
and were given full military honors by the nation that they
served and gave their lives to defend....
NEW UPDATE: SSgt. Berthold Allen Chastain's Remains
Found, Identified, and Returned
SENAA International - 06 FEB 2011
26 October 2010, one day before the 67th anniversary
of his disappearance, Berthold Allen Chastain's
daughter, Tulie Mae Chastain-Swilling, received a
phone call from the U.S. Army informing her that the
remains of her father, along with those of the other
eleven crewmen of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator
"Shack Rat", had been recovered and positively
Veterans Urged to Volunteer
Military.com - 23 NOV 2009
First Lady Michelle Obama recently urged all Americans, including
military veterans, to put their skills to use in volunteer
service to assist U.S. communities and citizens in
Executive Order to Hire Vets
Military.com - 23 NOV 2009
President Barack Obama recently signed an executive
order aimed at hiring more veterans to work in the federal government. A
government wide Council on Veterans' Employment will be created....
'Language Was My Weapon'
Navajo Code Talker recalls training for World War II
Durango Herald - 15 NOV 2009
extended family of more than 150 members said happy
birthday—ba hoozho bi'dizchi-neeji' 'aneilkaah—here Wednesday to 87-year-old David Patterson, one of
the few remaining Navajo Code Talkers whose encrypted
messages befuddled eavesdropping Japanese as U.S.
Marines recaptured Pacific islands in World War II....
Needed Gathering Information
Message from PDuncan, Assistant PR Director, 40 and 8
Jerry Yamamoto - 28 FEB 2009
from the Forty and Eight:
February 4, 1967 in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam
(II Corps), in the general area of Pleiku, a member of the
United States Army became a casualty of the 10,000-day war
and a statistic of what eventually exceed 58,000
Americans. His name holds a place of honor on Panel 37E -
Line 23 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington ,
name is not easily perceived, Huskie Yazzie Begay Ten, but
his spirit is reminiscent of that of the Navajo Code
Talkers and the heritage of our Native Americans. Born in
Arizona in 1945 and drafted into the Army, Huskie Y. B.
Ten entered into the ranks of hero protecting his fellow
soldiers in combat. For this, he was awarded the Silver
Star for Gallantry in Action....
Chinle PTSD group going
strong after a year, meets needs of Veterans of all ages
Navajo Times - 05 FEB 2009
are things about post-traumatic stress disorder that only fellow
sufferers will understand.
The way a
whiff of Chinese food can trigger a flashback to a Vietnamese
village that was abandoned so quickly that family dinners were
left boiling on the fire.
strange, loud voice you get when you're talking to your wife but
really trying to shout down an uninvited memory.
hunting knife under your mattress, just in case.
Was a Navajo soldier overlooked for a Medal of Honor?
Cindy Yurth - 27 JAN 2009
KITS’IILI, Ariz. — As Tom Gorman read the citations for
the two posthumous Congressional Medals of Honor recently
awarded to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, they sounded
Both men had thrown themselves on live
explosives, using their bodies to shield their comrades from
the full force of the blast.
Two years earlier, Gorman, the claims agent at
the Navajo Veterans Affairs’ Chinle office, had read an
almost identical account of a Navajo soldier as he entered
information on Vietnam veterans into the office’s computer
He went back into his files and took another
Hospital in Muskogee First to be Named for Native American
Submitted by Matt Davison - 10 OCT 2006
On 30 November, the Muskogee VA Medical Center in Oklahoma
will be renamed after the late World War II hero and
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Jack C. Montgomery.
The hospital will be the first VA facility
named for a Native American.
Montgomery served as first lieutenant in the
War II Code Talker Basks in Belated Recognition
The Pueblo Chieftain -
08 OCT 2006
World War II veteran Allen Dale June's wife refers to
him as "an endangered species."
honored the former Marine on Saturday refer to him as a
June, a member
of the Navajo tribe, was honored at the annual
Avondale/Boone and Eastern Pueblo County Veterans Day
parade parade for his service during World War II as a
Marine Code Talker.
At 84, June is one of the two survivors
among the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers....
Would Aid Cemeteries for Indian Veterans
NY Times - 03 SEP 2006
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 —
Traditionally, when American Indians are killed in battle, their remains
are returned to their tribal lands for burial.
But for the families of the
many Indians who join the United States military, death brings a
difficult choice: The veterans can be buried in a national veterans’
cemetery with fellow comrades in arms. Or they can be buried close to
home on tribal land.
There is no way to do both.
The Native American Veterans
Cemetery Act would change that....
Talker Describes His Once-Secret Work During World War
SFGate.com - 19 JUNE 2004
this age of super-sophisticated encrypted
communication among U.S. military commanders in
Iraq and Afghanistan, Sam Billison's World War
II expertise seems almost archaic—until you realize that the Japanese, with all their
code-breaking expertise, never came close to
cracking Billison's radio messages as the
Marines battled across the Pacific some 60 years
79, is president of the Navajo Code Talkers
Association, a group of Navajo tribe members who
joined up for a top-secret code project during
World War II that is credited with keeping the
Japanese forces completely in the dark....
Veterans Report for 14 June 2004
Below is the complete version of this week's Veterans Report. Print it, circulate it, and make sure your colleagues and
friends keep up with the latest veterans benefits updates....
ALERT: Legislation Renewed to Support Homeless Vets
Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001 has
been reauthorized...let your voice be heard...
Thanks Veterans, Then Cuts Their Health Care
Daily Mislead - 01 JUN 2004
spent the Memorial Day weekend thanking the nation's veterans for their
service, saying "we acknowledge the debt [we owe them] by showing
our respect and gratitude." Yet, his rhetoric came just hours
after the Bush Administration announced new plans to slash veterans
health care funding if it returns to power in 2005....
Their Language to Save Lives
Arizona Daily Sun
- 28 MAY 2004
It sounded like gibberish to the Japanese in World
War II -- the Navajo-inspired code used by the U.S. Marines in
the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. Today, the message is coming in
loud and clear: Cherish and honor our last remaining code
talkers while we still can.
local Navajo code talkers–Arthur Hubbard Sr., Dan Akee,
Alfred Peaches, Teddy Draper Sr. and Lloyd Oliver–are being
honored tonight at a public reception at 5:30 at the Little
reception is part of the long weekend of festivities that mark
the dedication of the National World War II Memorial in
Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and Memorial Day on Monday....
Awarded Purple Heart 58 Years After Military Discharge
Navajo Times - 19 MAR 2004
ROCK - It took almost 59 years for Navajo Code
Talker Teddy Draper Sr. to receive his Purple
Heart and commendation.
who will be 81 years old on April 2, on Friday
said that the Purple Heart revived him.
to a March 2 letter from the U.S. Veterans
Administration, the VA admitted that they had
made a "clear and unmistakable error"
on May 17, 1946....
Talker Tells of Service, Death
The Daily Times
- 03 MAR 2004
AZTEC — Navajo Code Talker Wilfred Billey
probably didn’t know the day he became a radio man during
World War II that he would some day be considered an American
told an overflowing crowd at the San Juan Archaeological Society
that it took the death of his good friend to earn his first job
as a radio man during the United States’ battles against the
Young Navajos follow in footsteps
of Marine code talkers
Union-Tribune - 23 NOV 2003
Part 1 of 2
Friday night, May 30, 6 o'clock ...
blowing through his ink-black hair, Nathaniel Bitsui
stands on the chalky rim of the Grand Canyon. It's cloudy
out. The dirt boils with bugs.
graduates tonight, this spring evening. The Navajo boy
wears a shiny red cap and gown to his Grand Canyon High
School commencement, held on the rim. When it's over, he
flings his cap into the air.
next day he turns 18.
day after that he's supposed to leave his northern Arizona
home for Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego.
overwhelming, all this...
Boot camp tests recruits from the
Union-Tribune - 24 NOV 2003
Part 2 of 2
Julio Nez thought he had things figured out, but at this
moment, with three beastly Marine Corps drill instructors
going medieval on him, he's not sure of anything....
likes to portray Marine drill instructors as human
Rottweilers. At their most beastly, they're worse. In the
eyes of recruits, they're the spawn of Satan – cackling,
barking men in the green hats make life in boot camp hell
because war is hell. It's not pretty or politically
correct. They make things tough because they say it's
better to test a man's mettle here, in the safety of San
Diego, than in Baghdad. How a Marine handles extreme
stress makes the difference between life and death on the
Butte Man Upheld Family Duty
argusleader.com - Published: 18 NOV 2003
A second South Dakota soldier was among those killed
Saturday, 15 November, in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
Sheldon Hawk Eagle, a descendant of Lakota warrior Crazy
Horse, was a quiet, focused man who viewed military
service as a citizen's duty, people in his hometown of
Eagle Butte said Monday....
Hopi, Hero: Piestewa an Icon
Arizona Republic -
10 APR 2003
She has become the
nation's most recognizable Native American military icon since
another Arizonan, Ira Hayes, helped raise the Stars and Stripes
on Iwo Jima.
Just ask retired Army
Col. Tom Spencer of Hampstead, N.C., about the impact of the
death in Iraq of Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa....
Went to War for Lynch, Book Says
Share Thoughts on Their Late Daughter
Day in Los Angeles
by Horace W. Coleman
presented a floral tribute to the U.S. Vets Residence
facility in Inglewood, California on Veterans Day at a
breakfast held by U.S. vets. VVAW member Brian Slease and
VVA member Matt Davison were also part of the
presentation. Local politicians and a representative of
Congress Person Maxine Waters were also present, as were a
Salvation Army Band and Color Guard of Sea Scouts....
The Navajo Times - 06 NOV 2003
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo voices, food,
faces, drawings, letters and music are headed to Baghdad, Iraq,
Navajo Nation Legislative Office staff assistant
Leila Help-Tulley said on Wednesday that she and other
Legislative Branch employees have been working late into the
evenings to meet the Nov. 6 deadline for a Navajo care package
for Navajo troops and other military personnel to enjoy by Nov.
House OKs Code Talker Medals
- 06 NOV 2003
WINDOW ROCK — Nine Navajo Code Talkers
have been confirmed by the White House to receive long-awaited
Congressional silver medals at the Navajo Nation Veterans' Day
celebration on November 11.
Arizona Representative Rick Renzi has been
designated by the White House to present the medals to the code
Will Honor Hopi Indian Slain in Iraq
- 06 NOV 2003
The parents of Spc. Lori Piestewa, a
Hopi Indian and the first servicewoman killed in the Iraq war,
will speak at today’s Veterans Day ceremony conducted by the
Seminole Tribe of Florida....
Veterans Benefits Act Passed
The House of Representatives has approved H.R. 2297, the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, legislation that would expand and extend benefits to veterans and their surviving spouses. Sponsored by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ), H.R. 2297 would, amongst other things, also reinstate a VA pilot program to provide vocational training to newly eligible VA
nonservice-connected pension recipients and add cirrhosis of the liver as a presumed service-connected disability for former POWs. To learn about the other approved amendments to H.R. 2297, see
Officials Ask Group to Keep Veterans Hospital Open
Associated Press - 05 OCT 2003
More than 1,500 people
gathered Friday at a hearing by a government commission considering
whether to close the Waco Veterans Hospital and six others nationwide.
Commission members heard nearly five hours of testimony from city
officials, community leaders, veterans groups and hospital employees.
Their comments about why the facility should remain open were frequently
interrupted by spirited applause, cheers, and some
Code Talker President Wants U.S. Troops out of Iraq
The Daily Times -
05 OCT 2003
— The president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association
said Friday he opposes U.S. troops being stationed in Iraq
because suspected weapons of mass destruction were never