Monday, December 11, 2017

Navajo Code Talker George B. Willie Sr. dies in Arizona

A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in Arizona. Navajo Nation officials say George B. Willie Sr. died Tuesday at age 92. Tribal officials say Willie lived in the community of Leupp, Arizona.

He served in the Marine Corps with the Second Marine Division from 1943 to 1946. According to his family, Willie served in the Battle of Okinawa, delivering and receiving coded messages using the Navajo language. He and other Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original 29 who developed the code and received the Congressional Silver Medal in 2001. Willie is survived by his wife Emma, 10 children and several grandchildren. A celebration of life is scheduled Dec. 8 at the Presbyterian Church in Leupp.

There were approximately 400–500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved the speed of encryption of communications at both ends in front line operations during World War II.

While the name "Code Talkers" is associated with the Navajo, code talking, however, was pioneered by the Cherokee and Choctaw peoples during World War I, and other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Lakota (Sioux), Comanche and Seminole soldiers.

To watch video interviews of Navajo Code Talkers as well as read more on Navajo Code Talker history, go to this site, Navajo Code Talkers

Article from the Associated Press

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