U.S.

November 22, 2013

Native American Code Talkers get Congressional Gold Medal

Tags:
Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service 

Native American code talkers stand during a ceremony in which they received the Congressional Gold Medal in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. The U.S. Congress awarded the medal as an expression of the nation’s profound gratitude to the code talkers for their valor and dedication during World War I and World War II. Navy Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the event.

WASHINGTON – Native American “code talkers” who transmitted codes based on 33 tribal dialects during World Wars I and II so enemies could not decipher them were patriots with “unique capabilities and willingness to give their talents and lives” to the nation, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday at a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to honor them.

Navy Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., joined in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall by House and Senate leaders and other officials, recognized 216 code talkers and members of their Families from those wars with the highest honor Congress can bestow.

Winnefeld said, “During Native American Heritage Month, I have the great privilege of representing the finest military in the world in recognizing hundreds of Native Americans who wore the cloth of our nation in the distinctive way we celebrate today, and in such a courageous way, defending a country that did not always keep its word to their ancestors.”

Conceived in 1918, the code talker program eventually comprised more than 400 Native Americans who volunteered to defend the nation, the vice chairman said.

The role of the code talkers during the two world wars was kept a secret until 1968, officials said.
“Throughout history, military leaders have sought the perfect code — signals the enemy cannot break, no matter how able the intelligence team,” the vice chairman said. “It was our code talkers who created voice codes that defied decoding.”

Winnefeld said the codes were “doubly clever” by using words that were confusing to the enemy, such as “crazy white man” for Adolf Hitler and “tortoise” for tank.

“Our code talkers’ role in combat required intelligence, adaptability, grace under pressure, and bravery — key attributes handed down by their ancestors,” the admiral said.

Winnefeld said the code talkers endured some of the nation’s most dangerous battles and served proudly during critical combat operations, such as the Choctaws at the Meuse-Argonne, Comanches on Utah Beach on D-Day, Hopis in the Caroline Islands and the Cherokees at the Second Battle of the Somme.

“These men were integral members of their teams — the 36th Infantry Division, the 4th Signals Company, the 81st Infantry Division, the 30th Infantry Division — learning Morse code and operating equipment to transmit messages quickly and accurately,” he added.

Contributing even more than battle skills, the code talkers also “fundamentally contributed to our military intelligence community’s work” in cryptology, Winnefeld said.

The National Security Agency Museum highlights the code talkers of World War I and World War II as pioneers of this specialty, he added.

The code talkers are a national resource, a wellspring of intelligence, innovation, hard work and resilience, the vice chairman said.

“We can best honor these great warriors among us not just with well-deserved and long overdue recognition,” the vice chairman said, “but also with our own efforts to continue leveraging our nation’s diversity and to forever honor our veterans.”




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


 
 

 
haynes3_62415_lakosil

Family, faith, focus Resiliency helps Soldier heal from extensive combat wounds

Maj. Jeremy Haynes, Warrior Transition Brigade, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland, and wife Chelsea speak with Capt. Kate Degategno, Alpha Company, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, in Alvarado Hall, F...
 
 
U.S. Army Photo by Lisa Tourtelot

RWBAHC welcomes new top doc to command

U.S. Army Photo by Lisa Tourtelot Lt. Col. Edgar Arroyo, the new commander of Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, accepts the command colors from Maj. Gen. Thomas Tempel, the commanding general of Western Regional Medical Comm...
 
 
Photo by Capt. Bee Vengthisane

Signal Soldiers celebrate regimental birthday at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas– Signaleers from Fort Hood and other installations around the country, celebrated the 155th Signal Regimental Corps birthday June 22-25 here. Signal week is a time when Soldiers in the Signal Corps reflec...
 

 

Sparks fly when fireworks are lit — know safety rules

During tomorrow’s July 4th celebration, sparks will fly as people light fireworks. It’s wildfire season, and misuse of fireworks can start a fire which could have devastating effects on the community. When using approved fireworks, be cognizant of the surroundings. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2011, fires started by fireworks caused an...
 
 
U.S. Army photo

Military Intelligence – Moment in MI history

More aerial intelligence systems used during Vietnam War During the Vietnam War, the Army possessed three distinct aerial intelligence capabilities. The U-6 Beaver fixed-wing airborne radio-direction finding (ARDF) platform was...
 
 
305thCeremony_6.26

305th Military Intelligence Battalion Change of Command Ceremony

Incoming Commander, Lt. Col. Jorge A. Arredondo, takes command of the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion during the passing of the colors at the change of command ceremony Friday.   Fort Huachuca’s 305th Military Inte...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>