Monday, November 10, 2014

On the eve of Veterans Day, we salute all US military vets,

On the eve of Veterans Day, we salute all US military vets, but especially the courageous members of the U S Marine Corps. Navajo Code Talkers, the last of which, Chester Nez, died on June 4, 2014 at his home in Albuquerque, NM. He was 93 years old. 

The Navajo Code Talkers, also later known as Wind Talkers, the title of a fictional movie based on their efforts in World War II, were active in every major campaign in the Pacific Theater.

Between their native language, which was unwritten at the time and heavily dependent on tonality for understanding, and cryptology the Navajo Code Talkers developed for use in battle, the messages sent were never broken by the Japanese. As result, the Code Talkers were able to communicate strategy, commands and results from positions in the midst of battle in the matter not of the customary minutes, but in less than 30 seconds.

Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental and critical in the success of Marine and other US military engagements throughout the Pacific. To be clear, while the Navajo Code Talkers in the US Marines while the most celebrated Code Talkers, they were not the only Native Americans engaged in cryptology on the Allies side in wars. Cherokees, Choctaws, Comanches and Meskwakis also participated in WWI and WWII.

The exploits of the Navajos in the Marine Corps in WWII are the best known and deservedly so. The Japanese had broken previous English-based codes, often with success in battles as a result. These brave Native Americans faced remarkable battlefield dangerous to help the United State prevail in the Pacific. All Americans owe them a massive debt of gratitude. As recognized in a special message from the Marine Corps upon the passing of Chester Nez, the last living Navajo Code Talker, "We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo code talkers,"

This tradition of heroic service by Native Americans continues today as Zuni Indians, artists and carvers, head off to fight forest fires every year at the height of the fire season in the West.

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