Opinion: Code Talkers started with Cherokee in World War I

"A phone call last November from Alice Hall, vice regent of the local group, invited me to talk about the Navaho code talkers in WW II. I knew of the code talker program and had seen the movie Windtalkers, which was about the Navaho Marines in the Pacific during the Big War, but I didn’t know enough to talk for 20 minutes or so.

A friend in Kansas City who is much more knowledgeable about the Internet than am I sent several websites that had all sorts of information about the elusive code talkers.

To start with, the code talker program did not begin in WW II with Navahos in the Marine Corps. Nor did it begin with Navahos. A source said it began in WW I, in the U.S. Army’s 30th Infantry Division, with a few Cherokees speaking their language, which no German listening in could understand.

At the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne, another U.S. division used eight Choctaws to confuse any listening Germans.

When WW II began both the Army and Marine Corps recruited Indian speakers to be used as code talkers. Tribes mentioned were Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota Sioux, Comanche, and Meswaki. That last one threw me as I’d never heard of it."

Get the Story:
John Reichley: Code talkers started in WWI with Cherokee (The Leavenworth Times 3/21)

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