Local

November 21, 2012

Code Talkers — World War heroes

The Pascola Group, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, gathered after the cultural demonstration for a group photograph. The group demonstrated the Pascua Yaqui Deer Dance, a significant ceremonial tribute performed during Lent.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence History Office hosted a presentation on the Native American Code Talkers of World Wars I and II, Nov. 14, in Fitch Auditorium,Alvarado Hall.

The guest speaker was Dr. William Meadows, author of “The Comanche Code Talkers of WWII.” Meadows is a member of the Missouri State Native American Studies committee, a member of the Native American Heritage Month committee, the coordinator for the Missouri State University Native American Heritage Month Pow Wow, and the faculty sponsor of the American Indian Student Association. In 2004, he testified before Congress, speaking on behalf of all of the Native American code talkers. His intense research assisted in the passage of the 2008 Code Talkers Recognition Act, giving recognition to all past Native American Code Talkers.

The Native American Code Talkers began with 13 young, Comanche male soldiers who devised an extremely secure code, created from their native language. They used this code to communicate on the battlefields during the wars, with the advantage of speed and security. Their code is said to be the most ingenious and successful, being the only code in military history that is unbroken. In World War I, the Germans inquired what the language was, but could not decipher it. In World War II, the Japanese recognized the use of the Navajo language, but could not capture a code talker to break it. Regardless, the code talkers were dedicated to their language and even torture would not break them. It was only the training officer who kept a written record of the code and the rest of the code talkers committed it to memory. The written record was lost during the North African Campaign but the verbal code was kept classified until 1968, when it became public.

“They were silent heroes during their lives and they simply went to their graves with that secret,” said Gregory Pyle, chief of the Choctaw Nation, according to http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/08/08/code-talkers-have-served-the-military-well—and-often-secretly-45697.

There are two types of code talking. Type one used Native American languages that were unknown to the enemy and contained specially devised coded vocabulary for the military. Type two used Native American languages as well, but without the specially coded vocabulary. The purpose of code talking was to avoid exposure of the U.S. plans of movement during the war. The code talkers sent radio messages detailing the exact landing locations or changes of each group of allied forces.

The code was made up of native terms that were associated with military languages, and a phonetic alphabet using native terms. To simplify the memorization process, military words were used that reminded the code talkers of things that were associated. English words such as tortoise translated to “chay-da-gahi,” meaning “tank” in the native language. “Besh-lo” meant “iron fish” and was used for the English word “submarine.”

After the wars were over, the code talkers held ceremonies that cleansed their bodies and their spirits. They were told not to speak about it. According to Helena Holiday, daughter of Navajo code talker Sam Holiday, there are only approximately 20 Navajo code talkers who speak publicly about the experiences.

Meadows continuously researches the code talkers, interviewing those still alive and their family members, collecting information to keep the recognition alive and extend the knowledge. He has spoken at many openings of the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on Native American Code Talkers “Native Words, Native Warriors.” For more information on the exhibit, visit http://nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

FH schools to celebrate National Bike to School Day March 06

Students from Colonel Johnston, General Myer and Colonel Smith Middle Schools will be riding or walking to school on March 6 along with parents, teachers and community leaders. The event will begin from 7 to 8:30 a.m. with youth, parents and community leaders riding or walking from parking lot locations listed below or from home....
 
 

Chalk Talk

Colonel Johnston Elementary School History will come to life in Amy Sullins’ second grade classroom on Tuesday. Students have been researching a famous person from the American Revolution or Westward Expansion. They are writing a short biography and memorizing a speech in the first person. They will come to school dressed as their person and...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Diving platform at Barnes Field House helps with Soldier training

Courtesy photo A Soldier in full uniform jumps down from a platform mounted 6 feet above the pool at Barnes Filed House. The platform was installed to give a semblance of realism to water safety training offered here and make a...
 

 
photo

Chalk Talk

Colonel Johnston Elementary School History will come to life in Amy Sullins’ second grade classroom on March 3. Students are researching a famous person from the American Revolution or Westward Expansion. They are writing a s...
 
 

Prescribed burning to take place on Fort Huachuca

Sierra Vista — Coronado National Forest, Sierra Vista Ranger District, in collaboration with Fort Huachuca will begin spring-season prescribed fires on Fort Huachuca Monday – Wednesday. Prescribed fire activities are expected to continue throughout the year when favorable weather permits. Current plans include three prescribed fire areas totaling approximately 4,700 acres. The areas to be...
 
 

Outreach Ministries Program coordinator retires after 47 years

The longtime Chapel Outreach Ministries Program director is retiring from the federal government after 47 years of civil service. Jo Moore, a Fort Huachuca Main Post Chapel icon, has spent the past 31 years of her civil service working for the chapel on the installation. During her tenure, she and the programs she started have...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin