JULY 26, 2001


America honored 21 Native Americans who used their native language to relay messages that turned the course of battle during World War II. President George W. Bush awarded medals to the last of the original Navajo Code Talkers–Chester Nez, Lloyd Oliver, Allen Dale June, and Joe Palmer who was represented by his son Kermit. President Bush presented gold medals to each of the five Marines. Also honored with silver medals were others from the Navajo Nation who served later. By war’s end, some 400 Navajos had served as Code Talkers with 13 killed in action. The Code Talkers joined 44,000 Native Americans who wore the uniform in World War II. More than 12,000 Native Americans fought in World War I. Thousands more served in combat arenas such as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Twenty-four Native Americans have earned the Medal of Honor—this nation’s highest military distinction.

Source: “Remarks by the President in a Ceremony Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers,” The White House, 7/26/2001.  Retrieved 1/10/2022, President Bush Honors Navajo Code Talkers (archives.gov)
Photo: White House, 2001. Public Domain.

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