Yesterday, members of the Navajo Nation, including President Ben Shelly, gathered in Window Rock to honor the contributions of the Navajo Code Talkers who risked their lives to deliver hundreds of encrypted messages during World War II. Twenty Navajo Code Talkers were on hand to hear Shelly salute their efforts, which helped the U.S. secure its victory in the Pacific theater.
According to an article that ran in Indian Country:
“The Navajo Code Talkers are lauded for hastening a swift end to World War II by providing the U.S. with a dictionary of Navajo words that were transmitted by radio and telephones. The code carried sensitive information about troop movements and other imperative field operations.
Following Iwo Jima, Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, stated ‘were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.’”
In 1982, then President Ronald Reagan declared August 14 National Navajo Code Talkers Day. For more information about the Navajo Code Talkers, visit www.Navajocodetalkers.org, and be sure to check out the story we ran about the Code Talkers in the February 1989 issue of Arizona Highways.