Chester Nez: Last of the Navajo Code-Talkers

Posted on 06/6/2014 by |Who's News | Comments

Bulletin Today | LegacyWhen Chester Nez attended boarding school in the 1930s, he risked having his mouth washed out with soap if he spoke in Navajo instead of English. But fortunately for America’s fortunes during World War II, he never forgot the language of his people. Nez, who died on June 4 at age 93 in Albuquerque, N.M., was the last of the U.S. Marine Corps’ original group of 29 Navajo code talkers, who used their native language to transmit radio messages on …

George Smith: A Native American Who Helped Win WWII

Posted on 11/9/2012 by |Who's News | Comments

LegacyGeorge Smith and his fellow Navajo code talkers played an important but long under-appreciated role in defeating the Japanese in the bloody, hard-fought Pacific islands campaign during World War II. Smith, who died on Oct. 30 at age 90 in Window Rock, Ariz., was part of a group of about 400 Native Americans who transmitted battlefield communications in a fashion that baffled Japanese code-breakers — by talking on the radio in their own indigenous languages. That tactic was so effective, in fact, that the …