Encryption machines were not a practical tool in the jungles of the Pacific theater during World War II. Still, encoded messages needed to move from the battle lines to artillery positions, air bases, and ships. The solution to this dilemma was Native Americans who spoke the Navajo language.
“Navajo code talkers,” as they became known, would use English code words translated into their language to relay messages. This method of encrypted communication was never cracked by the Japanese military. The code talkers risked their lives in some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific theater. They were never allowed to discuss the code and their jobs were classified information. The code talkers’ role in World War II would not become public knowledge until much later.
For their bravery and service, President Ronald Reagan declared August 14 as National Navajo Code Talkers Day.
- Official Website of the Navajo Code Talkers
Visit the official website, which includes a detailed history of the training and success of the Navajo code talkers, examples of the codes used during World War II, a photo gallery, and much more.