Google +LinkedInPinterestYouTubeInstagramTwitterFacebook

Navajo Code Talker dies at 93

Navajo Code Talker dies at 93
(Photo by Lucas Carter)

Chester Nez, the last of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers, died Wednesday morning in Albuquerque, N.M., according to Judith Avila, the co-author of his book.

Nez was 93.

The 29 original code talkers were credited with creating a communications system that proved unbreakable during World War II and played a key role in the U.S. victory in the Pacific.

Essentially, the code used double encryption – a combination of English and Navajo. The men who designed the code used an English word to represent each letter of the English alphabet. Those words would then be translated into Navajo, where the Navajo word would represent the English letter.

For example, “A” became red ant, or in Navajo, wol-la-chee.

Nez, who retired as a Marine corporal, has said that he was proud to serve his country. In his book, “Code Talker,” he described his feeling of elation upon being selected to join the Marine Corps.

“Our abiity to stay calm in the face of pressure, to think clearly under stress, had reaped rewards,” Nez wrote. “We were Marines! It was the luckiest day of my life. I felt like I was walking in a dream.”

After helping the United States win the war, the code talkers were told not to divulge their mission – until it was declassified in 1968. It wasn’t until 2001 when the U.S. government recognized the men with the Congressional Gold Medal. At the ceremony, Nez saluted President George Bush because “he’s the commander in chief, and that’s what you do.”

On Memorial Day, staff members of The American Legion interviewed Nez, Avila and his grandson, Latham. Avila said it was the last interview Nez gave. Highlights of the interview will be published in the August issue of The American Legion Magazine and on its website.

More in Honor & Remembrance

 

Chris Kowalczik

June 6, 2014 - 3:45pm

Another hero lost to time. Semper Fi Marine

donald Helms

June 6, 2014 - 12:33pm

Thank you for a job well done. Without you the Japanese would be controlling the South Pacific and parts of China

donald Helms

June 6, 2014 - 12:33pm

Thank you for a job well done. Without you the Japanese would be controlling the South Pacific and parts of China

CHARLES THOMPSON

June 6, 2014 - 1:03am

IN THE 70'S I CONTACTED SENATOR PAUL LAXALT OF NEVADA,THOSE WERE THE DAYS WHEN YOUR SENATOR OR REP ACTUALLY RESPONDED,AND ASKED HIM TO COSPONSOR A SENATE RESOLUTION DESIGNATING A NAVAJO CODE TALKERS DAY AND HE DID.

Jeffrey A. Weber

June 5, 2014 - 4:19pm

Last Navajo Hero of WW2... sad to see him go...glad he severed our country Semper Fi.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think