Navajo Code Talkers


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Navajo Code Talkers

  1. 1. Navajo Code Talkers Nathan Mykut
  2. 2. Philip Johnston • The idea to first use the Navajo’s in WWII came from Johnston. • He was the son of a missionary to the Navajos and he was also one of the few non-Navajos who spoke their language fluently. • Johnston was a WWI veteran who new about the military’s need for a code for WWII that could not be deciphered if tried. • He also knew that Native American Languages were used in WWI to create and send messages.
  3. 3. But why the Navajo languauge.. • The Navajo language is an unwritten one with no alphabet or symbols and was only spoken on Navajo lands in the United States. • Its syntax and tonal qualities made it very hard to comprehend without lots of exposure and practice with the language. • It was also said that less than 30 non-Navajo’s could understand the language when WWII occurred and none were of Japanese decent. • Also the Navajo’s themselves could encode, transmit, and decode a three lined English message in 20 seconds and machines of the time required at least 30 minutes to perform the same task.
  4. 4. Navajo language is accepted into WWII • In 1942 Johnston met with Major General Clayton B. Vogel to try to convince him to use the language. • After he was convinced, due to many extremities of the language Vogel recommended to the Marines to recruit 200 Navajo’s for the war.
  5. 5. Navajo’s attend boot camp • Soon after in May of 1942, 29 Navajo soldiers attended boot camp. • They attended camp at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.
  6. 6. Navajo’s at boot camp • Here the first group created the Navajo code. • By doing this they developed a dictionary and many different words for military terms. • Before being sent to the Pacific theater, a Navajo had to memorize the dictionary and complete his training.
  7. 7. Navajo duties in war • The code talkers’ main job was to send and receive, information on key military troop movements, orders, and other important battlefield situations over telephones and radios. • They also performed general Marine duties.
  8. 8. Iwo Jima • The code talkers played a key role in the Capture of Iwo Jima. • The code talkers here transmitted over 800 errorless messages which helped the Marines capture the island. • Also the entire operation to capture the island was directed through orders that the Navajos would receive and send. • It was said by Major Howard Connor, 5th Marines signal officer, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”
  9. 9. Japanese input on the code talkers • It was said that the Japanese were skilled code breakers. • The Japanese were never able to brake the code used by the Navajos. • However, they were able to decipher the codes that the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps used during the war.
  10. 10. Facts of the Navajo • In 1945, about 520 Navajos served in the Marines. • Around 375-420 of these became code talkers. • The remaining served in the war in other ways. • The code talkers were credited with saving countless number of lives through their work. • Also the code talkers served in all six Marine divisions from 1942-1945.
  11. 11. Navajo recognition • On June 28, 1969, the Navajo Code talkers received formal recognition. • The Fourth Marine Division honored the code talkers with medallions commemorating their efforts in the war. • Then on July 28, 1982 the President of the United States signed a measure stating that August 14 was “National Navajo Code Talkers Day.”
  12. 12. Code talkers today • Today, the remaining Navajo Code Talkers make their headquarters at the Gallup- McKinley County Chamber of Commerce. • The Navajo Code Talker Room is open to the public to view. • Exhibits of the code talkers tell fascinating stories of these veterans and their work.
  13. 13. Works Cited • quot;Cryptology: Navajo Code Talkers in World War II.quot; Naval History and Heritage Command. 07 May 2009 <>. • quot;How the Navajo Code Talkers helped win World War II.quot; On the road travelogue based on editor who explores West in an RV motorhome. 07 May 2009 <>. • quot; Content.quot; Benefiting the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard - 07 May 2009 <>. • Navajo Code Talkers. 07 May 2009 <>. • quot;NAVAJO CODE TALKERS WW2 Native American Warriors History Series Honoring Indian War Veterans.quot; CALIFORNIA INDIAN EDUCATION CALIE Educational Tribal Website of Calif Native American Indians Families Reservation and Urban Communities of North America USA Southern CA. 07 May 2009 < vajo_code_talkers.html>.