The last of the Navajo code talkers from World War II died yesterday, reports CNN. Chester Nez passed away at his home inAlbuquerque, New Mexico on Wednesday. He was 93.
Navajo code talkers are credited with creating an unbreakable code used with great success against the Japanese during World War II. Nez was one of the 29 Navajos recruited by the U.S. Marine Corps to develop the code that would be used for vital communications during battle. Recruited by the Corps as a teenager in 1942, Nez was assigned with the other code talkers to the Marine Corps’ 382nd Platoon at Camp Pendleton, California.
Code talkers weren’t allowed to tell anyone about their work until it was declassified in 1968. President George W. Bush presented the original 29 with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001. Once declassified by the military, code talkers’ service “gained legendary status with books and, ultimately, a movie that was inspired by their stories.”
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