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President of Navajo Code Talkers Association dies

January 8, 2012 1 comment

President of Navajo Code Talkers Association dies

AP ^ | 01/04/2012 | Felicia Fonseca

Navajo Code Talkers, Saipan, June 1944

Image via Wikipedia

Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2012 12:12:50 PM by Silentgypsy

Keith Little envisioned a place that would house the stories of the Navajo Code Talkers and where people could learn more about the famed World War II group who used their native language as a weapon.

His family now hopes to carry out his dream of a museum in Arizona that also will hold wartime memorabilia and serve as a haven for veterans. Little, one of the most recognizable of the remaining Code Talkers, died of melanoma Tuesday night at a Fort Defiance hospital, said his wife, Nellie. He was 87.

Little was 17 when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, becoming one of hundreds of Navajos trained as Code Talkers. They used a code developed by 29 tribal members that was based on the then-unwritten Navajo language. Their code helped confound the Japanese and win the war.

“My motivation was to fight the enemy with a gun or whatever,” Little told The Associated Press in a July 2009 interview. “When I went into the Marine Corps … I knew nothing about the Navajo code. It was really astonishing to me to get to Camp Pendleton and there were a bunch of Navajos there, and they were working with a Navajo code.”

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