CHINLE, ARIZONA - The Navajo Nation has announced that World War II-era Navajo Code Talker Fleming Begaye Sr. has died. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says Begaye died Friday in Chinle, Arizona. Begaye was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese. According to the Navajo Nation, Begaye served as a Code Talker from 1943 to 1945 and fought in the Battle of Tarawa and the Battle of Tinian. He spent a year in a naval hospital after being wounded.
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA – A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to confound the Japanese in World War II has died. The Navajo Nation says Roy Hawthorne Sr. died Saturday. Hawthorne enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 17 and became part of a famed group of Navajos who transmitted hundreds of messages in their language without error. The code was never broken. Hawthorne was one of the most visible survivors of the group.
Navajo Nation officials say Teddy Draper Sr. died Thursday at age 96 in the small city of Prescott. Tribal officials say Draper lived in Chinle, Arizona. Draper and other Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original 29 who developed the code. He was part of the 5th Marine Division, fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima and received a Purple Heart as well as a Congressional Silver Medal. Funeral plans were pending and a list of Draper's survivors wasn't immediately available Thursday.
ST. GEORGE, UTAH – Samuel Tom Holiday, one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers, died in southern Utah Monday surrounded by family members who raised money through a crowdfunding campaign to be by his side. Holiday was among hundreds of Navajos who used a code based on their native language to transmit messages in World War II. The Japanese never broke it. He was 19 when he joined the Marine Corps and became a part of operations in several locations across the Pacific during the war, according to The Spectrum. A mortar explosion left him with hearing loss, but he would later tell family that he always felt safe during battle because of a pouch around his neck holding sacred stones and yellow corn pollen.