Column: Navajo soldiers created unbreakable code
"From watching the History Channel or from school, some of you may have heard about the “code talkers” of World War II. Sometimes they were called “wind talkers.” The U.S. military needed a code to use on telephone or radio for messages that the enemy could not easily figure out. People existed on both sides of the war effort who became expert at breaking whatever code their opponent devised.

A man named Philip Johnston, who grew up on the Navajo reservation, suggested that Navajos be used. He was the son of a missionary to the Navajos and spoke their language. As a veteran of World War I, he had learned that some Native American languages, particularly the Choctaw, had been used in World War I for encoded messages. In fact, the 36th Division that was created at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth in World War I included numerous tribes from Oklahoma in its organization. Its insignia patch, which all soldiers of the Division wore, was a yellow arrowhead (representing the Oklahoma Indians) with a big capital “T” on it (representing the Texas soldiers also in the Division).

Knowing about the World War I experience, Johnston realized that the Navajo language would fit the specifications as an undecipherable code. Navajo is an unwritten language, very complex, and has many dialects. Although Johnston spoke it himself, he knew that anyone who had not spent years exposed to it would not be able to understand it. No alphabet or symbols existed. The only place it was spoken was on the land of the Navajo in the Southwest."

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J’Nell Pate: A code never broken (The Azle News 12/17)