Marines recruited for fluency in English & Navajo -- Last of original group of Navajo Code Talkers dies -- They made a critical difference in the outcome of WWII

Updated: 06/04/2014 12:28 PM | Created: 06/04/2014 12:19 PM
By: FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

(AP) - The last of the 29 Navajos who developed an unbreakable code that helped win World War II has died.

Chester Nez, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died Wednesday morning of kidney failure. He was 93.

Judy Avila, who helped Nez write his memoirs, says Nez's death came unexpectedly.

Nez was in the 10th grade when a Marine recruiter went to the Navajo reservation looking for young men who were fluent in Navajo and English. Nez told The Associated Press in a 2010 interview that he kept the decision to enlist a secret from his family and lied about his age.

Nez became part of the 382nd Platoon tasked with developing a code that stumped the Japanese. Hundreds of Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original Code Talkers.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.)

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Comment by Valentino Martinez on June 4, 2014 at 11:09pm

My familia in Albuquerque, New Mexico shared this news clip which I share here for the unique aspect of what military recruiters were looking for back in the heat of the conflict in WWII.  They needed an unbreakable communication code to stump our enemies and the Navajo language proved to be the one that worked.

Finding and recruiting Chester Nez, a 10th grader on the Navajo reservation, among others has to be a recruiter's story worth mentioning. I salute Chester and his original group along with many others who contributed in such a unique and important way in WWII.


Comment by Valentino Martinez on June 10, 2014 at 10:06am

Chester Nez, who was the last surviving original Navajo code talker, in 2011. Credit Dean Hanson/Albuquerque, via Associated Press



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