Navajo Code Talker Dies At Indian Medical Center, Age 90

By: , NewsOXY Reporter
11/05/2021 11:52 AM ET

George Smith, a member of the famed Navajo Code Talkers during World War II, dies at age 90. Smith died on Oct. 30 at the Gallup Indian Medical Center in New Mexico, said Navajo Nation president Ben Shelly.

“Our Navajo Code Talkers have been real life heroes to generations of Navajo people,” Shelly said in a statement. “They have brought pride to our Navajo people in so many ways.”
In honor of Smith, the Navajo Nation flag will be flown at half-staff until sundown on Nov. 4.

Smith was part of a Marine unit of Native Americans who created a complex and secret code based on the language. Because it is an unwritten language that was passed through generations, it is difficult for a non-Navajo speaker to translate.

The words of the code were used in communications in key battles, such as Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, the official site of the Code Talkers notes.

The Japanese never managed to crack it.

The 2002 movie “Windtalkers” starring Nicolas Cage is based on the the famous mission.

The identities of those members in the group were kept secret, even to friends and family, until 1968. Now only a handful are living.

Smith enlisted with the Marines in 1943. He achieved the rank of corporal while serving in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He fought in battles at Siapan, Tinian, and the Ryukyu Islands, and served in places such as Hawaii and Japan.

After his service, Smith worked as a heavy equipment mechanic with Navajo Engineering Construction Authority.

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