One of the Last Navajo Code Talkers Dies at 94, 7 Decades After WWII

A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in New Mexico, aged 94, Navajo Nation officials said.

David Patterson Sr died Sunday in Rio Rancho from pneumonia and complications from subdural hematoma.

Patterson and hundreds of other Navajos trained in radio communications were prohibited from talking about their work until it was declassified in 1968. Few Navajo Code Talkers are still alive.

Although Patterson couldn’t say much about his time using codes with the Marine Corps, one of his sons said he was proud of being a Code Talker.

‘He attended as many Code Talker events as he could,’ his son, Pat Patterson, said. ‘It was only when his health started to decline that he didn’t attend as many.’

Patterson served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945.

During the war, they radioed messages using a code derived from their native Navajo tongue.

They used words for red soil, war chief, braided hair and hummingbird, for example, to create the only unbroken code in modern military history.

He and other Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original 29 who developed the code and received the Congressional Silver Medal in 2001.

‘As one of the Navajo Code Talkers, my father and other Navajos coded and decoded classified military dispatches during WWII using a code derived from their native tongue,’ Pat Patterson wrote on a GoFundMe page created for funeral costs.

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Source: Daily Mail