Many of you will remember the 2002 movie “Windtalkers.”
It is a World War II movie about the use of Native Americans, such as the Navajos, in the Pacific Theater by the U.S. intelligence services to transmit secret messages using “codes” built around their ancient language. Those codes are said to have been virtually “crack-proof,” and were extremely valuable to the war effort.
It was one of WWII’s best kept secrets.
So valuable and vulnerable were these code talkers and their “codes, that the Marine Corps assigned additional personnel to protect the “Windtalkers,” and to ensure that they would never be captured alive.
These bilingual Native Americans are also referred to as “code talkers” and, while generally associated with Navajo speakers, it is reported that “code talking” was pioneered by Choctaw Indians serving in the U.S. Army during World War I and that, in addition to the Navajo code talkers, Cherokee, Choctaw and Comanche soldiers were also used as code talkers during World War II.
In the movie “Windtalkers,” Adam Bleach plays Navajo code talker Ben Yahzee and Nicolas Cage (Corporal Joe Enders) is assigned to protect the code talker.
Several books, articles and documentaries have been developed around this fascinating subject.
Sadly, the last of these code talkers from South Dakota who served in World War II was laid to rest Tuesday in the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, South Dakota.
His name is Clarence Wolf Guts. He was 86 years when he died June 16 at the South Dakota Veterans Home in Hot Springs.
People from around the country were there to pay their last respects to this last “Code Talker.” Gov. Mike Rounds asked that flags be flown at half staff in Wolf Guts’ honor.
Image: Courtesy wrscouts.com
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.