Today is the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings – the proverbial longest day. Those of us old enough to be attached to that generation feel very much a part of what transpired on the home front during the war – I certainly do and remember with great clarity what was pasted on to me by my parents and grandparents.
The well informed know with certainty how fortunate we were to prevail in the Pacific theatre with the limited resources FDR allowed for that great conflict.
One of those great assets were the indomitable “Code Talkers”. In the beginning, twenty-nine young Navajo men, enrolled by the Marines and who were protected from the draft, volunteered to develop a secret code by adapting their native Navajo tongue to armed force codes which the Japanese military was unable to break.
As of yesterday, the last of the Code Talkers – Chester Nez died at the age of 93 years. He was recruited at the age of 15 and was paramount in creating many of the phrases use by the Code Talkers. During the course of his military career, he battled in Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Peleliu and Angaur.
Ironically, because of the classified nature of what the Code Talkers did and their inability to communicate concerning their contribution in World War II, a large number of of these courageous Navajo men passed without having employment and broke.
In 2001, the men were finally acknowledged with the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in being the critical reason we triumphed World War II. As mentioned by Major Howard Conner, a 5th Marine Division military officer, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”
I thought I would take a moment and reflect on the extraordinary patriotism these beholden youthful men, the Code Talkers, who serve with great distinction. I thought you might wish to do the same thing.
Ford, Thomas Kenneth
Capt, USAF (ret)