JUNE 6, 1925

NAVAJO CODE TALKER/TRIBAL VICE PRESIDENT FRANK CHEE WILLETO BORN

Frank was born and raised in Crownpoint, Arizona.  He enlisted in the U.S. Marines 6th Division in January 1944 and received 8 weeks of code talker training before serving in Saipan and Okinawa.  After returning from World War II, he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs roads department until 1974.  Willetto received the silver Congressional medal in 2001 at a ceremony in Window Rock.  Locally, Willeto served on the Eastern Navajo Land Commission, the Navajo Tribal Council’s Advisory Committee, and Navajo Housing Authority and Economic Development Committee.  He was a board member of the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry and Navajo Arts and Crafts, and was appointed to the Navajo Supreme Judicial Council to serve as judge.   Frank was also the Navajo area representative for the National Indian Council on Aging from 1987 to 2006.  Willetto died June 23, 2012, in Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico (N.M.) and buried with full military honors at Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, N.M.  

Source:  Smith, Noel Lyn Smith, "A life of service: Navajo Code Talker Frank Chee Willetto is remembered by memorial speakers," Navajo Times, 7/5/2012.  Retrieved 7/2/2019, http://www.navajotimes.com/entertainment/2012/0712/070512wil.php
Photo:  U.S. Department of Defense, 2001.  Public Domain.  Photograph taken by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. Source: https://www.defense.gov/observe/photo-gallery/igphoto/2001986869/

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