code talker
Arizona Officials Honor Navajo Code Talkers

August 17, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

On Monday, Arizona officials honored Navajo Code Talkers and their heroic contributions to the Allied efforts during World War II.

Governor Katie Hobbs tweeted, “Today on Navajo Code Talkers Day, we honor and recognize the service of those who gave our country a critical advantage in WWII. Their patriotism will forever be remembered, and I am proud to recognize them on this day.”

Representative Stacey Travers added, “So honored to attend today’s event. Their legacy and commitment to their service to our freedoms is in wavering (sic). Thank you to those few surviving and to everyone’s families for your service.”

Attorney General Kris Mayes wrote, “The unbreakable code that changed the war. The Navajo Code Talkers used their language in WWII to encode messages that the other side could not decipher. We will always appreciate their dedicated service.”

Former President Ronald Reagan first set aside August 14 as “Navajo Code Talkers Day” in 1982.

In World War I, the Allies used the Choctaw language to help send communications around enemy lines. According to information provided by the Central Intelligence Agency, “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.” American officials were reticent to copy that same playbook in World War II due to opposing nations catching on to the language and codes.

However, thanks to Philip Johnston, the U.S. Marine Corps proceeded with a plan to use the Navajo language for World War II. Twenty-nine Navajos were installed as the first Code Talkers for the war and developed a code that served as a perfect solution for the duration of the efforts. Approximately 400 Navajos would serve in this program throughout the war.

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren recognized the significance of the day, tweeting, “They not only helped defeat an enemy on the battlefield, during World War II, but protected a sacred language and culture. We will never forget their contributions and sacrifice. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to these heroes on National Navajo Code Talkers Day.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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