Last of the Navajo “Code Talkers”

Chester Nez, of Albuquerque, New Mexico died June 4 at the age of 93. He was the last of the original 29 U.S. Marine Code Talkers. Nez was in the 10 grade when he was recruited in 1942 by the Marines, who had come to his Arizona boarding school looking for Navajo speakers. The code developed from the Navajo language proved impossible for the Japanese to decipher.

The Navajo Code Talkers were prohibited from speaking of their war service until 1968 when the Code Talkers operation was declassified. In 2001, the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing in 2001 on the Code talkers which provided the men the opportunity to testify about their wartime service.

Code Talkers; hearing before the Committee on Indian Affairs, Untied States Senate, One Hundred Eighth Congress, second session on the contributions of Native American Code Talkers in American military history, September 22, 2004, Washington, D.C.

It is available in print and microfiche at Federal Depository Libraries under
SuDoc. number Y 4.IN 2/11:S, HRG. 108-692, or available online at:

If you want to see what the code was like and create a message of your own, check out the following declassified document:
Navajo Code Talkers’ Dictionary at:


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