The Pendleton Panther

Wind Talkers Honored in New York Parade

Posted on: November 11, 2009

World War II Japan was extremely effective at breaking the codes that the allied forces tried to use.  They were so adept, in fact, that there was only one code that they never broke.  The tribe of Native Americans known as the Navajo have a language that is so unique and so patternless to a nonnative speaker that even Japan’s best code crackers could not decipher.  These Navajo Indians that fought in the pacific theater were called “Wind Talkers” and were instrumental in the Allied victory.  This is why today’s New York Veteran’s Day Parade had a special float for the retired code talkers.  Keith Little, a Navajo vet aboard the float with another 12 wind talkers, said that “it wasn’t a direct translation of Navajo” but rather, a code within a code.  Beautifully simplistic terms were used to disguise the meanings of the messages even if the Japanese did manage to translate them.  Tanks, for example were called the Navajo word for tortoises.  The U.S. had not formally honored the wind talkers until 2001, when the Congressional was awarded to each of them.  Now, however, they are making up for lost time as they prepare to build a Navajo code talker museum.

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