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Chester Nez, Last of the Navajo Code Talkers Passes Away

Mario Tama, Getty Images

Today, June 6, 2014 is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The day, in 1944, when the Allies invaded Europe during World War ll. The greatest generation to live in America as they put their lives on the line for freedom around the world.

It wasn’t just the German’s we were fighting during the war, it was the Japanese too. This past Wednesday the last of the Navajo code talkers, Chester Nez, passed away at the age of 93.  The Navajo code talkers were given the task of transferring secret messages, in code, during World War ll in the Pacific campaign. Theirs was a top secret project and were forbidden to tell anyone what they did. Fellow marines didn’t know, their families didn’t know, in fact the Navajo code talkers were not declassified until 1968.

They used the Navajo because there is no written language and it is language not many people know. They worked in teams of two sending and receiving top secret messages using every day Navajo words. They would transmit information, ask for ammunition and supplies, and communicate strategies.

The original 29 members of the Navajo code talkers, that developed the code, were presented the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001 by President George Bush, that group included Chester Nez. During the war the Navajo code talkers were so good the Japanese never figured out how to break America’s code. With the passing of Chester Nez, the last of the code talkers, comes a great loss of an American hero. The Navajo Nation flag will be at half-mast to honor Chester Nez.

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