More than 150 youth members of the Young Marines, a national youth education and service program, from across the country gathered in Window Rock, Arizona, to honor and learn from the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII.
Every year on Aug. 14, the Navajo Nation celebrates an elite group of World War II veterans — the Navajo Code Talkers. These remarkable patriots served their country by transmitting top-secret messages across enemy lines using the Navajo language as code — the only code unbroken by the Japanese in World War II. To date, only five of these veterans remain.
Since 2006, the Young Marines have traveled to Arizona each year to celebrate the Navajo Code Talkers and to meet the few remaining survivors in person.
“Navajo Code Talkers Day is an event that the Young Marines and the Navajo Code Talkers look forward to every year,” said Brenda McNulty, Young Marines event coordinator. “Our partnership between the descendants of the Navajo Code Talkers and the Young Marines has strengthened year after year since 2006.”
The Young Marines participate for three days on the Navajo reservation. They escort the Navajo Code Talkers during Navajo Code Talker Day also participate in a parade, a trail run and clean up, community service at a zoo and museum education.
“Just being around these exceptional veterans make us feel as though we could take a step back in time,” said William Davis, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “The Young Marines are assuring the legacy of these very special veterans. They will not be forgotten.”
The Navajo code talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They transmitted messages by telephone and radio in their native language, a code that the Japanese never broke.
In May 1942, the first 29 Navajo recruits attended boot camp. Then, at Camp Pendleton, California, this first group created the Navajo code. They developed a dictionary and numerous words for military terms.
In 1982, the code talkers were given a Certificate of Recognition by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who named August 14, 1982, as “Navajo Code Talkers Day.”
The Code Talker Recognition Act of 2007 recognizes every code talker who served in the United States military with a Congressional Gold Medal for his tribe and a silver medal duplicate to each code talker.
For the full story, see https://members.youngmarines.com/Release/145.
(Editor’s note: Story and photo provided by the Young Marines.)