About the Navajo Code TalkersDuring World War II the Japanese possessed the ability to break almost any American military code. Over 400 Navajos, with 29 being the original Navajo Code Talkers, stepped forward and developed the most significant and successful military code of the time using their native language. So successful was this innovative code that military commanders credited it with saving the lives of countless American soldiers and with the successful engagements of the U.S. In the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and paved the way to victory for Allied forces in the Pacific Theater.
"Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima." These were the words of Major Howard Connor, USMC 5th Marine Division Signal Officer
Far from their homes, these brave young men served our nation with honor. Sadly, the tale of their exploits remained a closely guarded secret for decades in the event that the Navajo Code Talkers unique talents would be needed again. Many Code Talkers have passed on never knowing of the honors a grateful nation are now bestowed upon the remaining brothers. It was not until 1968 when the Navajo Code was declassified.
The Navajo Code Talker Memorial was designed and executed by famed Navajo/Ute sculptor Oreland Joe. The Navajo Code Memorial was made possible through the Navajo Code Talkers Memorial Foundation, Inc.
[In 2010 a new marker had been placed at the base of the statue:]
The Legendary Navajo Code TalkersDuring World War II, in the South Pacific Theater, the Japanese were extremely proficient at breaking into military radio communications and transmissions. Thus they were able to decipher U.S. Military codes. The U.S. Armed forces needed to find a secure method of communication if they were to have any chance of defeating a clever and intelligent foe. To counter the cleverness of the Japanese cryptographers, 29 Navajo Marines were recruited to devise a secret military code using their native language. By war's end, there were over 400 Navajo Marines serving as code talkers and the vocabulary had doubled. So successful was this innovative code that the Marine Corps commanders credited it with saving the lives of countless American Marines and soldiers. It enabled their successful engagements throughout the Pacific Theater which included the battles for Guadalcanal, Wake Island, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, Midway, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The code paved the way to early victory for the allied forces in the South Pacific. Major Howard M. Conner, 5th Marine Division Signal Officer stationed on Iwo Jima, commented on the gallantry of the Navajo Code Talkers: "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would not have taken Iwo Jima."
Far from their homes, these brave young Navajo Marines served our nation with honor and dignity. The tale of their exploits remained a closely guarded secret for decades in the event that the Navajo Code Talkers unique talents would be needed again. In 1968 the Navajo code was finally declassified. In July 2001, at the National Capital Rotunda, United States President, the honorable George W. Bush, awarded the Congressional Gold Medals to the first 29 Navajo Code Talkers, their surviving spouses or children. In November of 2001 at the Navajo Nation capital of Window Rock, Arizona, the Congressional Silver Medals were awarded to the rest of the Navajo Code Talkers, their surviving spouses or children. Sadly, many of the Navajo Code Talkers have passed on never knowing of the honor a grateful nation has bestowed upon them. The Navajo Code Talkers will never be forgotten.
Dine' Bizaad Yee Atah Naayee' Yik'eh Deesdlii