Frank Chee Willeto, Navajo Code Talker, passes away at age 87

Frank Chee Willeto, a Navajo Code Talker and a former vice president of the Navajo Nation died on June 23. He was 87.

Willeto was born on June 6, 1925, in New Mexico. He served in the U.S. Marines Corps and used the Navajo language to transmit unbreakable codes during World War II.

“Our nation has lost an honorable Navajo leader and protector with the passing of Frank Chee Willeto, and we are greatly saddened by our loss. His love for the Navajo people was exemplified by his lifelong commitment to public service, and we are grateful for his dedication and personal sacrifices," Johnny Naize, the speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, said in a press release.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly ordered the tribal flag to be flown at half staff through tomorrow in Willeto's honor.

Willeto "served his country and returned home and served his people in many ways. His life is an example of how to help people continuously until his last days," Shelly said in a press release.

Willeto received a Congressional Silver Medal in 2001 for his efforts during World War II.

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Willeto, Navajo Code Talker and ex-tribal VP, dies (AP 6/27)

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