~~June 6, 2014~~
The topic of a “code talker” needs a post of its own. It’s a very interesting one, deserving of full research, information and presentation. Of this, I am aware. Soon I will prepare a post about it.
I find it fascinating.
~~WHAT IS A CODE TALKER?~~
Code talkers were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular, there were approximately 400–500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.
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.
Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers. Soldiers of Basque ancestry were also used for code talking by the U.S.
Marines during World War II in areas where other Basque speakers were not expected to be operating.
~~TODAY I WISH TO HONOR THE LAST ONE LIVING~~
He had never seen an ocean before enlisting in 1942, a few months after Pearl Harbor.
He had herded sheep with a slingshot.
At 122 pounds in 10th grade, he barely met the minimum weight requirement for the Marines. But his thin frame — and, after an impoverished childhood on a reservation, healthy appetite — was a plus on a boat approaching Guadalcanal.
“I liked the smell in the galley area, although lots of Marines complained about it,” he wrote later. “I guess I’ll always be drawn to the aroma of cooking food, after spending my early years in boarding schools where I was never able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, or as much as I wanted.”
At one of those boarding schools, he’d had his mouth washed out with soap for speaking his native tongue.
But Chester Nez would help design a code based on Navajo that proved invaluable in the Pacific theater during World War II.
Born in 1921, Nez grew up on “the Checkerboard” — an area near the Navajo reservation that crosses the borders of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
Chester Nez, who was the last living member of the Navajo code talkers during World War II, passed away this past Wednesday, June 4, at age 93. Nez was one of 29 of the original Navajo who were recruited into the United States Marine Corps in 1942 to aid the U.S. in communications during battle.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.
Chester Nez was an American veteran of World War II. He was the last original Navajo code talker who served in the United States Marine Corps during the war.
Nez was born in Chi Chil Tah, New Mexico, to the Navajo Dibéłizhiní (Black Sheep Clan) for Tsénahabiłnii (Sleeping Rock People). He was raised during a time when there were difficult relations between the U.S. government and the Navajo Nation. Nez recalled children often being taken from reservations, sent to boarding schools, and told to not speak the Navajo language. It was from one of the schools, in Tuba City, Arizona, that Nez was recruited into the Marine Corps.
Nez kept his decision to enlist from his family and lied about his age to meet enlistment requirements. He was assigned to the 382nd Infantry Regiment at Camp Pendleton, where he and 28 other Navajo were tasked with creating a code for communications during WWII. The Navajo language was chosen because its syntax and tonal qualities were nearly impossible for a non-Navajo to learn, and it had no written form. Nez stated the developers used everyday words, in order to easily memorize and retain them. In 1942, he was among the code talkers to be shipped out to Guadalcanal, where they worked in teams of two—one to send and receive, the other to operate the radio and listen for errors. Nez also fought in Bougainville, Guam, Angaur and Peleliu.
He was honorably discharged as a Private First Class in 1945 and returned to serve stateside in the Korean War from which he was discharged as a corporal.
From 1946 to 1952, Nez attended the University of Kansas (KU) to study commercial arts. Following his military service, he worked as a painter for 25 years at a V.A. hospital in Albuquerque. In 2011, he wrote the memoir Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII with Judith Avila. In November 2012, he received a bachelor of fine arts degree from KU.
~~Congressional Gold Medal~~
In 2001, Nez was one of the four of the five living code talkers who received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush:
“Today, we marked a moment of shared history and shared victory. We recall a story that all Americans can celebrate and every America should know. It is a story of ancient people called to serve in a modern war. It is a story of one unbreakable oral code of the Second World War, messages travelling by field radio on Iwo Jima in the very language heard across the Colorado plateau centuries ago.” — President George W. Bush
Nez died on June 4, 2014, from kidney failure in Albuquerque.
~~The last original Navajo Code Talker~~
~~Published on Nov 16, 2013~~
The last original Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez talked to Stars and Stripes while he was in Washington, D.C., to accept the Audie Murphy Award. Nez shares his story, and what it was like growing up as a Native American.
Continue reading: http://www.stripes.com/1.253099
We ALL are ONE!!