Skip to comments.Navajo code talker from World War II dies
Posted on 11/07/2012 8:46:29 AM PST by Lorianne
George Smith, one of the Navajo code talkers who helped the U.S. military outfox the Japanese during World War II by sending messages in their obscure language, has died, the president of the Navajo Nation said.
"This news has saddened me," Ben Shelly, the Navajo president, said in a post Wednesday on his Facebook page. "Our Navajo code talkers have been real life heroes to generations of Navajo people."
Smith died Tuesday, Shelly said, and the Navajo Nation's flag is flying at half-staff until Sunday night to commemorate his life.
See CNN's complete coverage of Veterans in Focus
Several hundred Navajo tribe members served as code talkers for the United States during World War II, using a military communications code based on the Navajo language. They sent messages back and forth from the front lines of fighting, relaying crucial information during pivotal battles like Iwo Jima.
Military authorities chose Navajo as a code language because it was almost impossible for a non-Navajo to learn and had no written form. It was the only code the Japanese never managed to crack.
The Navajo code talkers participated in every assault the U.S. Marines carried out in the Pacific between 1942 and 1945.
The code talkers themselves were forbidden from telling anyone about the code -- not their fellow Marines, not their families -- until it was declassified in 1968.
Now in their 80s and 90s, only a handful of code talkers remain.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
God bless the heroic Code Talkers and may they live long in our memories.
Why is Japanese considered an "obscure" language?
Amen, I just finished a book about the Code Talkers and their effect on the outcome of the war in the Pacific. They saved many, many lives.
George Smith rest well. You have brought great pride to your nation and our country.
It should have said "outfox the Japanese during World War II by sending messages in their own obscure language" and been more clear.
This is actually incorrect.
A number of tribes had code talkers, including Cherokee, Comanche, Choctaw (who started the idea during WWI), Lakota and more.
I seriously doubt the Japs broke any of their codes either.
Another member of The Greatest Generation passes.I hope he had a happy,fulfilled life.In a related story,the nation that brave men like Mr Smith fought to build and preserve died along with him yesterday.
The US Army created the code talkers in WWI and used them in all theaters in WWII, including the Pacific, Cherokee, Comanche, Choctaw, Lakota and more.
We don’t know why no one has ever heard of them, or why a white, black, or even another non Navajo speaking Navajo, radio-operator, isn’t “heroic”, or why a radio operator is “heroic” solely based on what language he was speaking into his radio.
This windtalker thing is kind of bizarre, they were radio operators, the only difference with them is that they used a different code on the air.
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Ben they will always be Hero’s to a grateful nation .....god Bless those men for what they did .
My dad was a Navy man, a Carpenter's Mate. How glamorous can it be, building cabinets on ships? Indeed, he was a Quaker and didn't really want to be a war hero, just doing a job at a nice little seaport in the Hawaiian Islands. But there was that one exciting day.
My dad was older, he was born in 1911 and was almost out of place among the younger guys at Pearl Harbor. My uncle (my mom's brother) lied about his age and joined the Navy in 1941 before he turned 18 or finished high school, that's him standing on the left side of the picture.
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