The Code Talkers


The term Code Talkers is associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular, there were approximately 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code Talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.  The enemy never broke the codes.

The name Code Talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Choctaw Indians serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. These soldiers are referred to as Choctaw code talkers.  The photo above is of the Choctaw Code Talkers training in WWI.

Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers.

In the memoir, “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkes of WWII,” written by Chester Nuz, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers, it’s a sad irony that Chester Nuz wasn’t even his real name, but his English name assigned in kindergarten.  He then went on to boarding school in Fort Defiance where he was punished for speaking his Native Navajo language, the very language that would assure military victory for the US over Japan in WWII.  When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Chester answer the warrior’s call and served his country.

The National Museum of the American Indian recognizes and honors the Code Talkers at the link below:

Hat tip to Don for this link.

You can read more about the Code Talkers at these links:

Navajo Code Talkers

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Lakota, Navajo. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Code Talkers

  1. Pingback: The Code Talkers - 500 NATIONS | 500 NATIONS

  2. Scott Sewell says:

    Reblogged this on Moonlit Prairie.

  3. katebortell says:

    I saw a movie with Nicholas Cage called Windtalkers about this very thing. It was so good. More people should know about that wonderful action.

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