Navajo Code-talkers

Ali Daniel

* Navajo's didn't always have birth records.

* Many Navajo's lived far from cities.

* Code Talker's were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime.

* Once a Navajo code talker completed his training, he was sent to a Marine unit deployed in the Pacific theater.

* When a Navajo code talker received a message, what he heard he had to translate.

* Navajo was still valuable as a code even after the war.

* The son of a Protestant missionary, Philip Johnston spent much of his childhood on the Navajo reservation. He grew up with Navajo children, learning their language and their customs.

* In spite of concerns about the security of a code based on a Native American language, the U.S. Marine Corps decided to give Johnston’s idea a try.

* They approved a pilot project with 30 Navajos and allowed Johnston to enlist and participate in the program.

* The initial code consisted of 211 vocabulary terms, which expanded to 411 over the course of the war.

* In addition, an alphabet system was also developed by the Code Talkers.

* A skeptical lieutenant decided to test their skills and the code before trusting them to deliver actual combat messages.

* The first 29 recruited Navajos (one dropped out) arrived at Camp Elliott near San Diego in May 1942. One of the first tasks for these recruits was to develop a Navajo code.

* Germany and Japan sent students to the United States after World War I to study Native American languages and cultures, such as Cherokee, Choctaw, and Comanche.

* In spite of concerns about the security of a code based on a Native American language, the U.S. Marine Corps decided to give Johnston’s idea a try.

* The tactic seemed so promising that the Thirty-second requested the Indians' permanent assignment to the division, and the army expanded the program in 1941.

* The Indian recruits received basic training and advanced infantry training in San Diego before they were informed of their particular task.

* Under the alphabet method, each of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet would be represented by an Indian term.

* The letter "a" also stood for apple (be-la-San) and axe (tse-nil).

* An elite group of approximately 400 Navajo Marines trained to be Code Talkers between 1942 and 1945.

* Cipher machines, or machines that create coded messages, did not work well in the jungles of the Pacific Islands during World War II. However, the United States military needed coded messages to send secret information from the battle lines to air bases and other locations. Native Americans who spoke the Navajo language helped solve this problem.

* the Navajo took active part both in World War I and World War II.

* Today, the Navajo Code Talkers are becoming sort of a celebrity.

* “We first 29 Code Talkers designed a doubly-encrypted secret language using Navajo and English,” Ned said. “It became the only unbroken spoken code in modern warfare.

* “It is important that my people take pride in their heritage, especially the young people,” Ned said. “I hope that learning about the Code Talkers will help them to do that. It is also important that non-Navajos learn how a culture so different from theirs contributed to the U.S. victory in World War II.”

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