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Navajo Hero Who Stumped Japanese during World War II [snip] Dies Aged 92

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posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 11:26 AM
We lost another Code Talker this week:

Navajo hero who stumped Japanese during World War II by transmitting top secret messages in unbreakable code based on native language dies aged 92

Ernest Yazhe was one of an elite group who joined the Code Talkers - who played a vital role in sending messages to and from the battlefield - in the 1940s.

The Japanese were never able to break the code -- based on the rather unique Navajo language, and little known outside the reservation at the time.

American Marines on Saipan were able to use one code that was never broken by the Japanese. Navajo Indian communicators spoke in a code derived from their exclusive language to help win the battle. The complexity of the code perplexed the Japanese. It proved impossible to break for many reasons. For example, there are multiple sounds for vowels used in words which are similar in spelling but have different meanings. The complexity increased on the receiving end. Once a Navajo Code Talker obtained the string of unrelated Navajo words, he translated every word into English. From the collection of English words, he used the first letter in every word to make a whole word in English. The original Navajo Code Talkers also created and learned approximately 450 words that represented military terms.

The entire program was kept classified until 1968; in December of 1981, they were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the President Reagan. But for 20+ years, they were the unsung heroes of the Pacific campaign. We may not have won without them.

"Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, and Iwo Jima have one thing in common: they were captured by the Wind Talkers unit. The Wind Talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945--serving in all six Marine divisions. Many American soldiers staked their lives on the success of the Navajo code and view the Wind Talkers' contributions to the war effort as nothing short of monumental. A Marine Corps signal officer summed up the situation after WW2: "Were it not for the Wind Talkers, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima and other places."

Their loyalty and dedication and performance above and beyond the call of duty is, perhaps, especially remarkable given the less-than-honorable treatment their nation has historically received from the federal government. And this family gave much:

Ernest's older brother Harrison Yazhe, who died in 2004, also became a Code Talker. Both brothers' names appear in the Congressional record on the list of Code Talkers confirmed by the Marines. A third brother, U.S. Army private first class Silas Yazzie, died in combat in Italy in 1944.

Some might remember the Nicholas Cage movie about these heroes, "The Windtalkers", and there are links to watch it free online for anyone interested.

There are also several personal interviews with Code Talkers available online:

Navajo Code Talkers: Sharing the Story of the Soldiers that Ended the War

There are only a handful of the WWII Windtalkers still living -- perhaps 18 or so. The Navajo Nation will be flying flags at half-staff in tribute to this hero -- both "theirs" and "ours."

Thank you for your service, Mr. Yahze. Rest in Peace.
edit on 16-1-2016 by Boadicea because: Capitalized "Stump" in title

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 12:21 PM
Yeah Man,When I saw the title of your thread,I immediately thought of the Windtalkers movie..RIP to a true American MR Yazhe.
edit on 16-1-2016 by greydaze because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 12:31 PM
a reply to: greydaze

I've never seen the movie. We're hoping we can watch it this weekend -- either rent it from RedBox or find it on Dish's movies on demand. I like Nicolas Cage, so I'm hopeful it will do these men justice and be worth the watch.

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 12:37 PM
Awesome of my favorites from the pacific theatre....which has always been an obsession of mine..

It's so hard to believe a country so small(area wise) could whip the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war then decimate the British in a matter of weeks from all its pacific naval entrenchments....then stomp the mighty US for nearly 3 straight years..

Many do not understand the epic power and fighting prowess of the Japanese imperial forces...

Japan was, man for man, the greatest fighting force ever to grace this planet(save perhaps the 19th century horse mounted Comanches and Texas Rangers)...
As an American, defeating the mighty Japanese remains a strong point of pride in my country....

And perpetuates my continuing respect and admiration for the Japanese people and their honor driven society...

Think about this for a moment:
When japan surrendered, her industrial infrastructure was in total ruin...
Her intellectual class was either dead or long since bereft of hope or humanity for that matter...
Their leader, whom they believed in as a messiah, found himself at the mercy of a foreign military...granted it was helmed by one of America's greatest heroes, Douglas MacArthur who held sole decision making when it came to the emperors fate ...
And within one generation, thanks to the MacArthur/Whitney/Kades Constitution, Japan became again a world leader though this time through economic prowess...

Thank you to all the Navajo wind talkers for their sacrifice and duty to country...we will always revere you and honor you...


posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 01:17 PM
a reply to: Christosterone

Thank you for such a great contribution to the post.

And thank you for your honor and tribute to the Wind Talkers.

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:00 PM
a reply to: Boadicea

Whats strange to me is that there are more and more of these code talkers than I thought there was. I swear I read news reports a few years ago that said the last code talker had died.

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:06 PM
a reply to: Boadicea

It's horrible. They get the basic part of who they were right, but other than that it's a horrible movie.

Thru were an amazing group and their contribution to the war probably did more than any other group.
edit on 1/16/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:08 PM
a reply to: galaga

The last of the original group did die in 2014. There were other groups that joined after.

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:27 PM
a reply to: galaga

I swear I read news reports a few years ago that said the last code talker had died.

Yes, I remembered the same thing and had to look up. I blame the press trying to dramatize/sensationalize their headlines, such as this one (note the qualifier "original" in the title):

Remembering the last of the original Navajo Code Talkers

So technically, yes, the last of the original Code Talkers died, but not the last of all Code Talkers. Frustrating and annoying, isn't it?

ETA: (My apologies for the bad title originally posted!)
edit on 16-1-2016 by Boadicea because: To correct source title

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:33 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

It's horrible. They get the basic part of who they were right, but other than that it's a horrible movie.

Oh darn... that's exactly what I was afraid of. Maybe that's not surprising. The link stated he did not talk about his service; I think that was the norm in that generation. I know I was taught to never ask about a vet's service.

If we find it and watch it, I'll let you know what I think...

Thanks for the warning

posted on Jan, 16 2016 @ 02:41 PM
a reply to: Christosterone

It's so hard to believe a country so small(area wise) could whip the Russians in the Russo-Japanese war then decimate the British in a matter of weeks from all its pacific naval entrenchment

Irrelevant argument.

Japan has a land mass 56,000 square miles larger than U.K. During WW II Japans population was over 20 million more than the U.K.

However more importantly

During WW II Britain fought in 4 theatre's of war. Europe, North Africa, The Pacific, and the North Atlantic.

Japan only fought i one theatre i.e. The Pacific.
edit on 16-1-2016 by alldaylong because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-1-2016 by alldaylong because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 17 2016 @ 10:31 AM
Regardless of the who had the better army willy waving this man and his collogues were hero's in their own right
and using their own unique language skills provided the US army an invaluable service in those dark years
and this brit salutes them all .

posted on Jan, 17 2016 @ 01:04 PM
a reply to: alldaylong

I'm an American...and thus a child of British Imperialism...
We are your offspring...there is no doubt Britain was/is one of the great naval nation-states in he history of mankind....
Prior to WWI(if memory serves) Britains navy was double the size of whomever had the second largest navy....that's amazing when you think about it...
My respect for Japan derives itself from, among other things, defeating the mighty Uk forces.....notwithstanding Britains focus(especially concerning air power) was on nazi Germany.

You have to understand that Britain had an almost unlimited source of fuel from arabia(though Rommel did his best to change this) while Japan was never able to acquire the necessary natural resources it required to sustain a war on such a scale with America, Britain, The Philippines, China and Australia in the pacific...

Heck, we were so intimidated by their ground forces that we chose not to attack their island command bases but the neighboring supply islands so as to avoid the actual "first stringers".....and they still nearly beat us

Even after we dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima they refused surrender...while many simplistically equate this non-surrender decision to their culture having a death wish I believe it speaks more about their unwavering faith in their emperor, God and country....
And thank god they did surrender after Nagasaki because we didn't have any more atom bombs...

Anyhow, I meant no disrespect about British forces but more as an illustration of the Japanese imperial military prowess...

As for the op: the modern world has sort of forgotten the athletic and military prowess of native Americans....
Disease, war and famine decimated their population and those who survived became part of Americas melting pot...
But the modern world did get to see a glimpse of who the native Americans had once been in the form of jim Thorpe...he was a vestige of their greatness...a final reminder of how badass the Native American was....he was faster, stronger and better physically than anyone on the planet....
There is no telling how many of his genetic forefathers were as badass as him but we can be sure he was not an anomaly but more a common manifestation of those superb specimens who are now lost(mostly due to disease)
Again, the wind talkers will always be held in reverence by me....

-sorry for any typos an/or bad grammar but I'm on an iPhone and it can't understand my Texas accent on speech to text...and I'm not re-reading my diatribe

edit on 17-1-2016 by Christosterone because: (no reason given)

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