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The Last Code Talker

12 Jun

Navajo-code-Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers Henry Bake and George Kirk, 12/1943 (ARC 593415)

 

93 year old Chester Nez died recently in Albuquerque,  New Mexico and as the final living member of an elite, nearly mystical group of 29 Navajo men who played a vital role in the War, he and the others will always be remembered for what they did for this Country.

They were the original Navajo Code Talkers

Many were skeptical in the beginning that this group could not, or would not succeed in their mission.

But as was soon to be learned, the Code Talkers not only were a tremendous success, they changed the course of the war.

They developed a Native language for coded messages that was so secret, it was only known by just a few.

“The name 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.”  —–  Wikipedia

“The code talkers received no recognition until the declassification of the operation in 1968”  —–   Wikipedia

The Japanese were simply never able to crack their code, which crippled their efforts in the War.

This impenetrable code, was simply the basic language that these men and their people spoke, but very few off of the Reservation did, which was why it was such a success.

This turned out to be one of the greatest War time secret weapons,  that our US  Military has likely ever developed.

Several hundred more Navajo Code Talkers were eventually added to the original 29 and there were also Code Talkers from other Native Nations as well.

Americans and other countries who were protected by our military, owe each of these brave Native men a huge debt of gratitude, along with every single member of the combined services who fought and died during this time.

The 2002 film meant to honor these men,  Windtalkers,  was fairly accurate, about 78%  according to Nez.

The Original group of 29 did not receive their  Congressional Gold Medal  until 2001, but by then, nearly all of them were already gone.

Only five were still alive and only four attended the ceremony.

The groups that followed the Original 29,  were given Silver Medals  for their Service.

Chester was scheduled to be at a book event in just a few days to join and speak with Award winning author Judith Avila, who has written about and studied the Code Talkers.

He will most definitely be there with her in spirit.

***Regretfully, I was unable to find any public domain pictures of Chester, but you will see him in many of the links that are shown below.***

Navajo-swearing-in
First 29 Navajo U.S. Marine Corps code-talker recruits being sworn in at Fort Wingate, NM. (ARC 295175)

 

Places to learn more:

Unbreakable: Remembering the Code Talkers

Navajo Code Talkers: the soldiers that ended the War

The Story of the Code Talkers

Chester Nez, last of the World War II Navajo ‘code talkers,’ dead at 93

‘He loved his culture, and his country.’ Last original Navajo Code Talker dies

Chester Nez, last of original Navajo code talkers of World War II, dies

The last of the Navajo Code Talkers

 

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4 responses to “The Last Code Talker

  1. infinitelyremote

    June 12, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    I heard this sad news earlier. Truly the end of an era. Thank you Gator Woman, for this post with all its many excellent resource links. Navaho Code-Talkers – what a brilliant contribution to an effort that arguably sold them (and their brethren) short.

     
  2. Jueseppi B.

    June 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

     
    • Gator Woman

      June 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

      Thank you so much for sharing their most inspiring story~

       

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