Arizona To Recognize Navajo Code Talkers Day

Photo Credit:

Izaak Perez, OwlFeed News Reporter

Imagine living as a US soldier in World War II. As young as you are, you are sent to fight the Japanese. You’re on a boat, feeling homesick, seasick, scared for your life. 

Well this was a reality for 285,000 U.S. servicemen. But only a few could live up to the legendary title as a Navajo Code Talker, the crucial name given to the men who made the unbreakable code.

Located 750 miles off the coast of the great nation of Japan, there is a tiny little island named Iwo Jima. The tiny little island that the U.S. planned to use for a staging area during the Second World War. The 8.108 square mile rock full of sand and life was an important asset to the U.S. military. But the Sulfur Island would prove difficult to take. 

The U.S. had many challenges trying to invade a soft beach where the Japanese had ambush positions and a home-field advantage. But they were outmaneuvered by strategic decision making through a secret code that has never been broken. 

A Marine Major said, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”

And with the highest population of Navajos in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey was right in making a Navajo Code Talkers Day. 

August 14 or the following Sunday will be labelled as Navajo Code Talkers Day in Arizona as a day to remember the bravery and intelligence of every one of those code talkers and to recognize them as veterans of the armed services. 

Rachel Trent of CNN said, “The Code Talkers were honored at the Pentagon in 1992. In 2001, President George W. Bush presented the 29 original Code Talkers with the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 2002, their story was the focus of the action movie ‘Windtalkers.” 

Though their reward was overdue, they earned it and deserted it for making such a complex code to help us win the war.

On March 29 Doug Ducey announced his appreciation for those brave men, saying, “More than 400 Code Talkers answered the call to serve, and Arizona is grateful for their dedication to protecting our nation.” 

And Mr. Ryan Heinsius of said, “Under the new law, Arizona will honor the more than 400 Navajo Code Talkers on Aug. 14 of each year. It marks the day Japan announced it would surrender to Allied forces.” 

Since this year is the first year that Navajo Code Talkers Day will be officially instituted, it will be interesting to see how people celebrate it.

The Navajo Code Talkers were particularly critical in the war’s Pacific Theater. Iwo Jima was planned for use for invading mainland Japan, so it was important to the U.S., and as I said before, good communication and strategic positioning was key. 

Unfortunately, there are only 4 Code Talkers alive today: Thomas H. Begay, John Kinsel Jr., Samuel Sandoval and Peter MacDonald Sr. They continue to be honored through friends and family, and from those who give them recognition. 

Their names will be written in history as 4 of over 400. Arizona state senator Jamescita Peshlakai, who is Navajo, said, “It’s important that Arizonans remember their service and bravery,” according to the AP.