“Although the number of American Indians in the Marine Corps never exceeded 800 during the war, 375 to 420 of them performed a unique service in the Pacific theater, beginning at the battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Military leaders decided to use the Navajo language—a language virtually unknown except to the relatively small number of people who spoke it—as a code. Navajo code talkers were communications personnel who transmitted messages between air and ground units, between ships and shore stations, between frontline armor or artillery positions and rear headquarters, and among infantry command posts—all in the Navajo language. The Japanese were never able to decipher the code, and the Navajo code talkers became a legendary group of men.” – The World War II Desk Reference, Douglas Brinkley and Michael E. Haskew, eds.
Quality, not quantity
Published inThe Second World War