Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Navajo Code Talker Monument - Arizona Trivia (Just Barely Still) Tuesday

Another hectic week and hectic day. On the bright side, my daughter's basketball team won their game today against a tough team, despite the fact that a couple of teammates were out sick, and several of the ones who were at the game were also sick. She even scored a basket - unusual for her, because although she handles the ball very well and plays great defense, she is the smallest kid on the team and usually can't get a shot off over all the tall kids on the other team. This time, she dribbled quickly around and past all of them and made the lay-up!

So here it is Tuesday, almost midnight, and I've written nothing so far today... quick, what can I write about that's interesting and informative...?

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On the corner of Thomas Road and Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, is a statute of a seated Native American. Here is a photo of it, which I got from a collection of photos by "tceng" on panoramio.com.

The statue is a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers who served in the marines and helped win World War II. Here's the scoop, from a website devoted to Naval history and heritage:

During World War II, the Navy was seeking an undecipherable code for use in the Pacific. A fellow named Philip Johnston, who was the son of a missionary to the Navajo, had been raised on the Navajo reservation, and was one of only a few non-Navajos who could speak the language fluently, believed he had a solution.

Navajo is an unwritten language -- it has no alphabet or symbols, and is spoken only on the Navajo lands. It is also extremely complex. The syntax, tonal qualities, and various dialects make it unintelligible to anyone who has not had extensive exposure and/or training.

So, in May 1942, the military recruited 29 native Navajos, who attended boot camp, just like any other recruits. Then, this special group was tasked with developing numerous words for military terms, and a dictionary. The dictionary and code words had to be memorized during training.

Once a Navajo code talker was trained, he was deployed to the Pacific, where he could talk with other Navajo code talkers to transmit information regarding tactics, troop movements, orders, or any other secret information.

Although the Japanese were very skilled code breakers, they were unable to decipher the code based upon the Navajo language.

Approximately 375 to 420 Navajos served as code talkers during World War II. Because their code remained valuable even after the war, they went unrecognized for decades, until September 17, 1992, when they were acknowledged and honored for their contributions, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.


Janie Junebug said...

That's really cool. Please get rid of your word confirmation. It drives me insane, and I don't need any more driving toward insanity.


LegalMist said...

@Janie -- I've tried a few times already to get rid of word ver. Every time, I end up with lots of spam. I'm sorry that it's driving you nuts... and I love your comments... but I just can't handle the spam right now, so it will have to stay. Maybe in a couple of months when things calm down, I'll give "naked" comments another try.

bettyl said...

I always find the code talkers the most amazing thing!

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Arti said...

Congratulations to your daughter! That statue is so very interesting along with the scoop to go with it. Many thanks for sharing.