Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Native American Code Talkers Get Congressional Gold Medal"

Native American Code Talkers Get Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 – Native American “code talkers” who transmitted codes based on 33 tribal dialects during World Wars I and II so enemies could not decipher them were patriots with “unique capabilities and willingness to give their talents and lives” to the nation, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to honor them.
Conceived in 1918, the code talker program eventually comprised more than 400 Native Americans who volunteered to defend the nation, the vice chairman said.
The role of the code talkers during the two world wars was kept a secret until 1968*, officials said.
“Throughout history, military leaders have sought the perfect code — signals the enemy cannot break, no matter how able the intelligence team,” the vice chairman said. “It was our code talkers who created voice codes that defied decoding.”
{Navy Adm. James A.}  Winnefeld said the codes were “doubly clever” by using words that were confusing to the enemy, such as “crazy white man” for Adolf Hitler and “tortoise” for tank.
via eHam

I mentioned previously, en passant here as well as specifically here that the US Army used Code Talkers in both WWI and WWII, but the US Marines use of Navajos as bio-crypto assets in WWII is so famous that most think that only the Naval Service ever had that idea.  (Probably coincidence, but John Woo's Marine Corps fantasy Windtalkers, with Nicholas Cage, Adam Beach, and Christian Slater was on The Military Channel Friday night...)

Related:  Picked up Code Talker, Chester Nez' autobiography, from the King County Library. I can sure see why a young Navajo from the Rez might have thrived as a Marine, Boot Camp probably seemed like a vacation.  Honestly, though, I was a little disappointed by it, i think he was so used to keeping what he dis and saw a secret, that he had little to say about it once he got around to writing his story.
Mind you, I can relate...

*Well, officially, maybe.  But I note that the Code Talkers made an appearance in the -- excellent -- Leon Uris novel and movie Battle Cry...

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