Lemuel Bahe Yazzie, a member of the famed Navajo Code Talkers has died at the age of 91. Mr. Yazzie joined the military in September 1944, and served with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions during WWII. He was a radio telephone operator until March 1946. See a video below.
After the war, Yazzie returned to Arizona. He was an ordained minister, a rancher and a machinist. He is survived by five siblings, six children, 26 grandchildren and 52 grandchildren.
Code Talkers created an unbreakable code from the languages of their people.
From the website of the Navajo Code Talkers:
KNOWN AS NAVAJO CODE TALKERS, they were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWII. At a time when America’s best cryptographers were falling short, these modest sheepherders and farmers were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful code in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war’s end…
Along with other Navajo Code Talkers, Yazzie received the Congressional Silver Medal for his Marine service, and he was also an active member of the Navajo Code Talkers Association. In fact, he participated in our group trip to New York City last fall for Veteran’s Day, and those memories and many others will keep us smiling with warmth in our hearts.
From The Kayenta Today:
The Rev. Yazzie endured the horrors of combat during the occupation of China and was in a radio platoon in a forward echelon against hostile forces. The Navajo Nation unites and offers prayers and deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief.”
In 2002, he received the Congressional Silver Medal for his Marine service.
Code Talkers used the languages of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Meskwaki, and Navajo. Navajo Code Talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific, and in all six marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units, from 1942 to 1945. Read a World War II Fact Sheet on the Code Talkers from the Naval, History and Heritage site.