Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions April 30, 2016

1/6/2012 10:01:00 AM
It's no secret that WWII Code Talkers are heroes
Navajo-Hopi Observer

The U.S. lost another living link to a critical part of our history when services were held for a former World War II Navajo Code Talker, Billy Crosby, Dec. 27 in Chinle. Six former Code Talkers have died this year, and only a few dozen of the original 420 Code Talkers are still living.

Crosby and his fellow Navajos used their then-unwritten native language to transmit codes regarding every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific. Thousands of their messages documented Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war's outcome.

These men were defined by far more than their military service and their ability to speak a secret language. They represented the best kind of Americans.

Take Crosby. At 85, he taught Head Start children about the Navajo language and culture long after he retired, and also volunteered as a foster grandparent. He was aptly laid to rest at the Chinle Community Center, near his hometown of Many Farms. "Mr. Crosby never stopped giving back to his community," Navajo President Ben Shelly told the AP. "He was a model for his people well beyond his service to his country and people."

We've been fortunate to have a number of former Code Talkers in Arizona over many, many years. Samuel Tom Holiday, a man sent behind Japanese lines at Iwo Jima during WWII to find artillery sites that were shelling U.S. forces, spoke at Prescott High School earlier this year. Allen Dale June, one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, died at the Prescott VA in 2010 at age 91 after receiving his Warrior Medal of Valor earlier that year in Prescott. The year prior, another former Code Talker, Willard Varnell Oliver, also lived at the Prescott VA until his death. In 2002, former Code Talker Sidney Bedoni served as grand marshal of the annual Veterans Day parade at the Prescott VA.

Although many were discharged in the 1940s, the Code Talkers' part in WWII wasn't public knowledge until the military declassified their contributions in 1968.

The list of living Code Talkers, however, is becoming precariously short.

"He's a rare endangered species," June's wife of 37 years, Virginia, said in 2010.

We salute the rarest of those who served.

(Editor's note: This editorial originally appeared in the Dec. 28 edition of The Daily Courier, a sister publication of the Navajo-Hopi Observer.)

Related Stories:
• Code Talker Jimmie Begay passes away at age 88

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012
Article comment by: Patrick Megowan

Unfortunately ,our government in DC gives more credit to those who contribute less than those who contribute the most . It is my understanding , ( based on my own research of the historical facts ) that the contributions of the Code Talkers was one of the most significant in thedefeat against the Japanese . I am a veteran also and I wish to convey my gratitude for their sacrifices THANK YOU

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, nhonews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved