Navajo Code Talkers Day

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During WWI, the Choctaw language had been used to transmit U.S. military messages. With this thought in mind, Philip Johnston, the son of a missionary grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke the Diné tongue fluently, brought the suggestion of a similar code to General Clayton Vogel early in 1942. The Diné language has no alphabet, uses no symbols and one sound may hold an entire concept. The idea was tested and proved to be faster and more reliable than the mechanized methods. The language has more verbs than nouns, that helps to move the sentences along and makes it far more difficult for outsiders to learn – making it the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

platoon

The 382nd Platoon, USMC

The original class, the 382d Platoon, Navajo Communication Specialists, USMC, developed their code at Camp Pendleton. Once a unit of code talkers were trained, they were put on Marine rosters around the Pacific Theater. Even under severe combat conditions, they remained the living codes, since nothing was ever written down. During the first 48 hours of Iwo Jima, 800 transmissions were coded. These few men became warriors in their own right during some of the worst battles of the war.

Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaw Code Talkers

Some examples of the English word/ Navajo sound/ literal translation:

Alaska………. Beh-hga……….. with winter
America……….Ne-he-mah……… our mother
Britain……….Toh-ta………… between waters
Australia……..Cha-yes-desi…….rolled hat
China…………Ceh-yehs-besi……braided hair
France………..Da-gha-hi……….beard

Navajo code talkers

The existence of the code talkers and their accomplishments would remain top secret according to the U.S. government and use their expertise in the Korean War. Unfortunately, this resulted in many of the men not receiving the recognition they deserved. I was very lucky to have grown up knowing their story thanks to Smitty, my father.

President Ronald Reagan designated 14 August as National Code Talkers Day in 1982.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rocco Addeo Sr. – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII, 7th Fleet

Daniel Bolinski – Shamokin, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea/POW

Navajo Code Talker's Monument, Window Rock, AZ

Navajo Code Talker’s Monument, Window Rock, AZ

Philip Cooke – Brisbane, AUS; RA Air Force & RAF, WWII

Edward Flora – South Bend, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

John Guardino Sr. – Boca Raton, FL; USMC, Korea

Delbert Latta – Bowling Green, OH; US Army/USMC, WWII, (US Congressman)

Charles McCaughan – Darfield, NZ; RNZ Army # 40553, WWII

Merle Sargent – Springville, UT; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Sinclair – Bosman, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO, 17th Firld Reg/Royal Reg. of Canadian Artillery

Donald Weaver – Wayne City, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on August 14, 2016, in Current News, Home Front, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. Great article, and thought provoking

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks; I Re-posted this on Profiles. Saw Gene Wilder listed among the farewell salutes… (sigh)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post on this little known facet of WWII!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s why I continue to bring them up, also the Nisei MISers, New Zealand & Australian Maori & Aborigines, etc, etc. Everyone of them served a vital part in the big picture.

      Like

  4. This is truly an informative read. Thanks 🙂

    Like

  5. Great post about men we should not forget and how the simplest ideas are often the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always loved this story of ingenuity. My dad told us this story when we were young and later I read about it in Simon Singh’s book ‘The Codebreakers’.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fascinating GP. I remember seeing a movie about the Cod Talkers years and years ago. It aways stuck with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent article. As a teacher, there’s a great tie-in for coding with students. I’m working on making that connection in an article.

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on USNA or Bust! and commented:
    Great post on the mysteries of the Code Talkers, well-suited to August 12th, the day we honor these folks.

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings and commented:
    This is fascinating history, for those who have never heard of the Navajo Code-Talkers.

    Like

  11. Absolutely fascinating and a such a worthy story to share. A pity they didn’t get the recognition they deserved at the time. Interesting to learn about the differences in the language that made is so useful for code. I wonder, how did your father know about these code-makers?

    Like

    • Despite rivalries, soldiers, sailors and Marines do talk. Dad probably informed them of the existence of the Nisei and visa versa.I’m glad to be informing so many people of their service and thank you for coming.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. After reading this post gp, I had to check out the Choctaw language, what a magnificent language, at odds with most languages in its construction and meanings, definitely an excellent choice for Code, thanks for sharing gp.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Just heard people talking about all the emails that were sent with classified information. Someone remarked that they would now be sending them encrypted, much like those during the war, just to confuse people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certain people who use their own servers don’t feel it necessary to encrypt. Besides, they are as good at de-coding as we are – if not better. A very sad state of affairs today, Bev.

      Like

  14. I imagine the same could be re-invoked at any time in the future, to the same effect? (Can’t be all that many Navajo-speaking Chinese, Koreans, Russians … Islamics … floating around unemployed?)

    Like

  15. Now to see them getting some recognition. The film certainly helped as they were completely unknown to me before that.

    Like

    • To you and so many others. That’s why I am always trying to get them and the Nisei MISers in the public eye when I can. They went far too long without recognition. Thank you for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. GP, a most interesting post! New information for me! Now that I’m researching WWII & WWI, & the Nazi party history for a book related to my ancestors, I have more appreciation for you & your posts. Thank you! The History is complex with many articles and interpretations. Hours of reading! 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sharing this on FB. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Like

  19. Thank you for posting about them, G.P.! This was a fascinating and ingenious project.

    Like

  20. Great post and and glad that you recognized them!

    Like

  21. My friend Laurie Buchwald shared your post at Facebook. Really interesting fact, thanks for sharing. It’s sad they never were recognized officially. We were in Maui this winter and asked a young driver if many young indigenous kids were able to study their native language and sadly, only in private schools. I wonder if many still now this language?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome! I do know that the Navajo Nation makes the native Dine language mandatory in their schools, but beyond that, I am ignorant on the subject I’m afraid. I’ve heard the Hawaiian language was getting some attention a while back, but then nothing – at least it’s taught somewhere – no culture should be lost forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh thank you for this. Sharing on my FB page. We need to remember these men!

    Like

  23. It’s ironic and sad that their contribution was so great that they could not be recognized for it. I knew of them, but only very few bits and pieces, from my dad and other WWII vets, long before reading anything official.

    Like

  24. A most interesting post on the code talkers, whose existence and the important role they played during WW2 I was unknown to me. Thanks, GP!

    Like

  25. You know even though Windtalkers is not one of my favorite WW2 movies, (not because of the subject matter, which is awesome, but because the acting and just overall feel of the movie is cheap) I still made my kids watch it so they could learn about these brave men.

    Like

  26. Reblogged and posted on Facebook. Thanks for the reminder. As we get further and further from the time of the war, people become forgetful. So many of our transmissions were being intercepted and translated with disastrous results. The Code Talkers were a game changer and without them many more lives would have been lost…and who knows how it might have effected the outcome.

    Like

  27. It was a great idea, and something the Japanese could never figure out. As poorly as we’ve treated our Native Americans, I’m amazed at how patriotic and willing they are to fight for our country during a time of war.

    Like

  28. Great piece my friend…KUDOS!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I only learned of these men a few years ago. It’s a good reminder that mechanization (and now, digitization) doesn’t always provide the best solution to a problem. The human factor’s important, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. That is very genius idea!

    Like

  31. I didn’t know much about these code-talkers until I saw the film ‘Windtalkers.’ (2002)
    What a great idea! These brave men provided such a valuable service too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. good one!!! whats your opinion on my blogs ???

    Like

  33. Thank you, Mrs P. We should all remember these men.

    Like

  34. Thank you for helping to keep their story in the public eye.

    Like

  35. A very interesting and brave group of men! Thank you.

    Like

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