Column: Honoring service of Navajo Code Talkers
"Raymond Smith, a native of Shiprock, lives today in Sacramento, Calif.

A loyal reader of The Daily Times so that he can keep up with news from home, Raymond was fascinated with the story of Martinez when it first appeared on the newspaper's Web site.

He picked up the phone and called me to share a bit of surprising insight.

"There is a Navajo Code Talker buried at that Manila cemetery," he said.

"Really?" I replied, sitting up in my chair, ready to take notes.

"Yes. His name is Paul Begay. He is one of the original 29," Raymond said.

The Navajo Code Talkers are icons to the Navajo people, having made themselves heroes during the war for using their native tongue to communicate in a code never broken by the Japanese.

The "original 29" Raymond referred to was the first group of Navajo who fought and proved the experimental code could work. Others from the tribe followed and continued the fight until the end of the war."

Get the Story:
Troy Turner: One World War II find leads to another (The Farmington Daily Times 2/23)