Column: Navajo Code Talkers honored for efforts

"America's veterans have given life and limb in the service of freedom. A dwindling band of World War II vets -- honored this morning at New York's Veterans Day parade -- "gave" their language, too.

Some 400 members of the Navajo Indian tribe, serving as Marine communications specialists in the Pacific theater, baffled Japanese intelligence throughout the decisive years of the war with a code derived from their native language.

Indian languages had been used for military communications before -- but the Navajo tongue's complexity made the code practically impossible to break.

Indeed, the "code talkers," as they were called, were sworn to secrecy for more than 20 years after the war ended; President Reagan first acknowledged their service in 1982.

Now, with fewer than 50 remaining, they're raising funds for the Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center, slated for construction in New Mexico.

It'd be a fitting tribute to a group of vets whose unique contribution was key for American victory."

Get the Story:
John Wilson: Veterans who 'gave' their language (The New York Post 11/11)

Also Today:
Navajo 'code talkers' honored on Veterans Day (The Christian Science Monitor 10/11)

Related Stories:
Navajo Code Talkers walk in Veterans Day parade (11/10)
Willard Varnell Oliver, Code Talker, passes at 88 (10/15)
Column: Navajo Code Talkers get parade spot (10/5)
Column: Code Talkers lack money for parade (10/2)
Navajo Code Talkers dwindling in numbers (08/17)
Editorial: Land donation helps Code Talkers (8/14)
Navajo Code Talkers Association receives land (8/3)
Matthew Martin, Navajo Code Talker, dies at 84 (6/25)
Willie Kesoli Begay, Navajo Code Talker, passes on (6/4)
Thomas Claw, Navajo Code Talker, dies at 87 (5/28)
John Brown, original Navajo Code Talker, dies at 88 (5/21)