Bingaman Launches Navajo Code Talkers Website
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today launched a website dedicated to educating and informing the public about the Navajo Code Talkers and their tremendous contribution to the nation’s military victories during World War II. The website can be accessed at http://bingaman.senate.gov/code_talkers/.
“Through pictures, text and official historic records the site will help educate and inform the public about these brave veterans,” Bingaman said. “Because of government secrecy their existence was virtually unknown, and for too long their contributions have gone unrecognized by the people of this nation.”
At a time when the Japanese possessed the ability to break almost every American military code, the Code Talkers stepped forward to develop the most significant and successful military code of the WWII era. Military commanders have credited Code Talkers with the United States’ successful efforts in the battles of Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa. Code Talkers are also credited with saving the lives of thousands of American soldiers. But the Code Talkers have received little official recognition for their compelling contributions because their existence remained classified for over 23 years after the war ended.
To get the Code Talkers the recognition they deserve, Bingaman last year pushed through Congress legislation authorizing the president to award a Congressional Gold Medal to each of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers who served as Marine Corps Radio Operators. Congressional Silver Medals will also be awarded to those who followed in their footsteps.
The website launched today is an extension of Bingaman’s effort. Updates about the medals and planned ceremonies to honor the Code Talkers are also available at the site, along with a link to help Bingaman locate all the remaining Code Talkers who deserve medals.
“Navajo Code Talkers have maintained their silence about their service for generations, even after the operation was declassified in 1968,” Bingaman said. “Instead of coming forward themselves, their families and neighbors have discovered their military history only in passing — perhaps through a slight mention, backed up by the presentation of aging, yellowed military papers, which are then stored away and not spoken of again.”
“I hope we can use the power the Internet to help find all the remaining Code Talkers so that our nation can finally bestow an honor that is long overdue and formally thank these brave men for their contributions,” Bingaman said.