June 4, 2014
From the Navajo Codetalkers website:
Published on Sep 25, 2012
This documentary film was researched, photographed, edited and produced by students of Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) and Diné College (Tsaile, Arizona, Navajo Nation) during summer 2012. It contains stories Chester Nez of Chichiltah, New Mexico, told the students during several hours of interviews about his life. Chester is the last surviving member of The Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers who were recruited in 1942 to create a code using the Navajo language for use in the battlefield so the South Pacific. Chester and the rest of The Original 29 then took the code they created into battle. This documentary film is archived at the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Nation Library, Winona State University Library, and Diné College Library, and will be archived at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. The film is part of the Navajo Oral History project, a multi-year collaboration between the Winona State University Mass Communication Department and Diné College– The official Tribal College of the Navajo Nation.
Chester Nez told his story, for all the Code Talkers, often. I last met him in 2012, when he was in Carrollton, Texas, telling the story and selling his books.
Navajo Code Talker, Marine Cpl. Chester Nez, signing copies of his book Code Talkers, in Carrollton, Texas, October 14, 2012
June 4, 2014
Chester Nez saved America, but couldn’t tell anyone about it for decades. His work was ignored.
He lived to see some recognition for the work he and his fellow Code Talkers did.
There are many morals to his tale, particularly appropriate now as we wind down two wars.
Navajo Code Talker, Marine Chester Nez in the yellow shirt, signing copies of his book, Code Talker, in Carrollton, Texas, October 14, 2012; photo by Ed Darrell
Mr. Nez died this morning, Wednesday, June 4, at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 93.
Others are saying:
January 24, 2012
Our friend, the historian and curator of the Jack Harbin Scout Museum in Dallas, Bob Reitz, will present a paper on the Comanche Code Talkers of World War II at the meeting of the West Texas Historical Association meeting March 30-31, at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.
Which, for some reason, made me think of this classic XKCD:
XKCD cartoon on the national language
- U.S. Army history page on American Indians in the Army, including code talkers of World War I and World War II; “In Europe, the 4th Signal Company, 4th Infantry Division, was assigned 17 Comanche code talkers. From the D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944, to the liberation of Paris and the Battle of the Bulge, they kept the lines of communications secure.”
- The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II, by William C. Meadows, University of Texas Press
- Navajo Code Talker Keith Little Dies (npr.org)
- Oh — the Cherokee in that cartoon? “Hello, Sarah is my name,” roughly.
Comanche Code Talkers of World War II, 4th Signal Company, U.S. Army – Image via Wikipedia
Charles Chibitty, the last surviving Comanche Code Talker, died in 2005