Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/5/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Chester Nez passes away at 93

The very last of a unique breed of American hero passed away, marking the end of an era for both the United States and the U.S. Marine Corps.

PFC Chester Nez (middle) on Saipan in June, 1944.

PFC Chester Nez (middle) on Saipan in June, 1944.

Highlights

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/5/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: News, US, WWII


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chester Nez, the last Navajo code talker, passed away at the age of 93 at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 4, and was mourned by the Marine Corps in a statement that day.

Join Pope Francis in his war against world hunger.

"The passing of Chester Nez . . . sadly marks the end of an era in our country's and Marine Corps' history. We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers," said the statement.

Nez was 21 when he was recruited in 1942, and was one of the original 29 Navajo Marines who developed a secret communication code based on the Navajo language. The Code was one of the few that the Japanese were unable to break, and remained in service with the Marines through the Korean war and the beginning of Vietnam.

Nez fought at Guadalcanal, Guam and Peleliu before he was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1945, and rejoined the Marines for two years during the Korean war.

Philip Johnston, a WWI veteran who was fluent in the language, first proposed the use of the Navajo language to the Marines during the beginning of WWII. Prior to WWII, it was estimated that only 30 non-Navajos could understand the language, which is not mutually intelligible with its closest language relatives and at the time was unwritten. Johnston saw that the language fulfilled the military's desire for an undecipherable code as the language was only spoken in the American Southwest, and its syntax, tonal qualities and dialects made it unintelligible to anyone without extensive training and exposure.

The code talkers were commended for the skill, speed and accuracy throughout the war. After the battle of Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, a 5th Marine Division signal officer, stated that "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima." Connor commanded six of the code talkers, and had them working round the clock during the battle's first two days.

Nez published a book about his experiences called "Code Talker" in 2011. "In developing our code, we were careful to use everyday Navajo words, so that we could memorize and retain the words easily," Nez told CNN while promoting his book, "I think that made our job easier, and I think it helped us to be successful in the heat of battle."

In his book, Nez talked about his combat experiences.

"When bombs dropped, generally we code talkers couldn't just curl up in a shelter. We were almost always needed to transmit information, to ask for supplies and ammunition, and to communicate strategies. And after each transmission, to avoid Japanese fire, we had to move."

Though the code talkers made significant contributions to the war effort, they were unable to receive any recognition until the operation was declassified in 1968. President Ronald Reagan was the first to recognize their service, giving them a Certificate of Recognition in 1982.

On December 21, 2000, the original 29 code talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, and Silver Medals were awarded to each person who qualified as a Navajo code talker; four of the last five surviving code talkers were presented with the medals by President George W. Bush in 2001 at a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda. Gold medals were also presented to the families of the other 24 code talkers who where no longer alive.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More U.S.

Cardinal Egan, hero of 9/11, dies at 82 Watch

Image of Cardinal Egan was a heroic man who spoke the truth, no matter what the consequences. May he rest in peace.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Egan of New York has died. Egan, 82, passed away yesterday afternoon in New York as a result of cardiac arrest. Cardinal Egan is well regarded in New York, particularly after his work in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


On the Growing Calls to Put the Death Penalty to Death and the Right to Life Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I applaud the joint editorial of America magazine, the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor, in standing together in opposition to the death penalty. How about another editorial from the four, opened up to many more ... continue reading


FEDS VS. THE STATE: Who will win in Alabama standoff? Watch

Image of Some civil rights marchers have rejected any comparison between the quest to redefine marriage as a genderless union and the quest by black Americans to obtain their full civil rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Homosexual equivalency advocates liken Alabama's defiance of federal authorities on same sex marriage to a similar stance during the civil rights movement of the 1960's. The Alabama Supreme Court has made itself an outlier in the judicial march legalizing ... continue reading


Remembering Father Alfred Kunz: A Murder Unsolved Watch

Image of I try not to think of how his life ended any more. Rather, I try to remember how he lived. That is because, as a Catholic, I realize how short our lives are. We all will come to an end...sooner or later. What really matters is what we do, in keeping with God's plan, while we are here on this planet. Father Alfred Kunz knew that. He knew why he was here on earth and he made an eternal difference.

By Matt C. Abbott

In the early morning of March 4, 1998, Father Alfred Kunz, a priest and canon lawyer of the Diocese of Madison, Wis., was found brutally murdered in his parish school, St. Michael's, in Dane, Wis. His throat had been slashed. To date-17 years later-the murder ... continue reading


Saved by a sea lion! Suicide leaper from San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge loves to counsel others Watch

Image of Kevin Hines later spoke to a man who had been on the bridge that day. The man informed him that the underwater creature was not a shark - but a sea lion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Hines was at one time a suicidal teenager who battled mental illness. It first dawned on him that his life served some sort of purpose when in one of his several suicide attempts, he threw himself off the Golden Gate Bridge in San ... continue reading


PM Netanyahu's Clarion Call Watch

Image of Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, President Obama, his staff, and many Democrats in Congress boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu speech.

By Adele M. Gill

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, as President Obama, his staff, and many Democrats in Congress boycotted his speech, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sounded a trumpet, a clarion call, for World peace. The message he delivered was cogent and clear: Peace and unity for all ... continue reading


Standing ground: Alabama Supreme Court halts same sex marriages Watch

Image of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has issued opinions saying the probate judges didn't have to heed the federal court rulings to marry gay couples, appeared to be absent from the decision. His name was neither in the concur or dissent portion of the order.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State of Alabama remains adamantly opposed to same sex marriages. The Supreme Court of Alabama has since ordered all the state's probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The decision is just the latest in a growing legal battle ... continue reading


WHY has heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. quadrupled over the past 15 years? Watch

Image of Heroin overdose death most rapidly in the Midwest, the report said. No explanation was given from the report.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Once considered the lowest a person could fall, heroin deaths and addiction have quadrupled over the past 15 years. Death rates from heroin overdoses have nearly quadrupled since 2000 to reach 2.7 per 100,000 people in 2013. The National Center for Health ... continue reading


Has Obama destroyed 60 years of friendship? U.S.-Israeli relations frayed after dismissive comments from President Obama Watch

Image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before a joint session of Congress on March 3.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his dramatic, and controversial, speech before the U.S. Congress, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the proposed agreement between the U.S. and Iran was "a bad deal" which would not hinder Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


What is she hiding? Hillary Clinton refused to use government email address while Secretary of State Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton did not use an official government email address while she was Secretary of State, potentially violating a law regarding open and free access to official documents.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Potential 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton may have shot herself in the foot; it has been revealed that as Secretary of State, Clinton used a personal email address for official government business, which may be a crime. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-18
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:16-17, 18-19, 20-21
16 He called down famine on the land, he took away ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46
33 'Listen to another parable. There was a man, a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 6th, 2015 Image

St. Colette
March 6: Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter