Column: Chester Nez served his country with Navajo language

The Chester Nez was one of the original Navajo Code Talkers who used the Navajo language to transmit unbreakable messages during World War II. Photo from Kansas University

Recalling the life and contributions of Chester Nez, a member of the Navajo Nation who was the last of the original Code Talkers:
Scrolling through my Facebook page March 29, the name Chester Nez rolled up on my screen. That name sounded so familiar.

Clicking the link, a photo appeared and I immediately remembered where I heard that name. It was at Eastern New Mexico University, my alma mater. I interviewed his publicist, Judith Avila, who published a book about him in 2012 called, "Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII."

Nez did some extraordinary things. When the U.S. Marine Corps approached his tribe with a request for assistance in the war, 29 Navajos stepped forward. History was about to be made.

Reading the Facebook article, I was saddened to see that Chester was longer with us. He died of kidney failure in June of last year.

The contribution this group of Navajo Indians made to the war was nothing short of incredible. They formulated a secret military language, a code known only between them, that was used to send and receive classified information. And they did it in two and half hours.

Get the Story:
Marketta Davis: Navajo Code Talker: Remembering Chester Nez (The Pensacola News-Journal 4/5)

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