He is the only original World War II Navajo code talker still alive—and this is his story . . .
His name wasn’t Chester Nez. That was the English name he was assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding school at Fort Defiance, he was punished for speaking his native language, as the teachers sought to rid him of his culture and traditions. But discrimination didn’t stop Chester from answering the call to defend his country after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have always been warriors, and his upbringing on a New Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both physical and mental—to excel as a marine.
During World War II, the Japanese had managed to crack every code the United States used. But when the Marines turned to its Navajo recruits to develop and implement a secret military language, they created the only unbroken code in modern warfare—and helped assure victory for the United States over Japan in the South Pacific.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
I met my friend, Navajo code talker Chester Nez, more than four years ago. Writing Chester's memoir has changed both of our lives for the better. I have gained a second family, and Chester is pleased that people will know the story of himself and his fellow Navajos, the WWII code talkers. It is a story that remained a secret for too long. We hope that you will enjoy reading our book as much as we enjoyed writing it!!
The book's dedication says a lot about the focus of the book and Chester's desire to have all code talkers recognized:
This book is dedicated to the 420 World War II Navajo Marine code talkers - men who developed and implemented an unbreakable communications system that helped ensure the American defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific War.
When the war ended, other combatants were free to discuss their roles in the service and to receive recognition for their actions. But the Marines instructed us, the code talkers, to keep our accomplishments secret. We kept our own counsel, hiding our deeds from family, friends and acquaintances. Our code was finally declassified in 1968, twenty-three years after the war's end.
This book may be my story, but it is written for all of these men.
May they and their loved ones walk in beauty.
Chester Nez is a World War II veteran who indispensably served his country as a Navajo code talker.
Judith Schiess Avila is a code talker scholar with the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities Chautauqua Program. She tours the state giving presentations on the topic. She and Chester have been friends since 2007.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
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