Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the by Chester Nez

By Chester Nez

He's the one unique global battle II Navajo code talker nonetheless alive—and this is often his tale . . .

His identify wasn’t Chestesr Nez. That was once the English identify he was once assigned in kindergarten. And in boarding institution at citadel Defiance, he was once punished for conversing his local language, because the academics sought to rid him of his tradition and traditions. yet discrimination didn’t cease Chester from answering the decision to guard his state after Pearl Harbor, for the Navajo have consistently been warriors, and his upbringing on a brand new Mexico reservation gave him the strength—both actual and mental—to excel as a marine.

in the course of international warfare II, the japanese had controlled to crack each code the us used. but if the Marines became to its Navajo recruits to improve and enforce a mystery army language, they created the single unbroken code in smooth warfare—and helped guarantee victory for the us over Japan within the South Pacific.


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I waited, eager. In Navajo life, everything has a story, narratives that are significant both in ceremonies and in everyday life. “The Diné roved over the land to find food for their sheep,” Father said quietly. ” Any Navajo who left those familiar boundaries had to prepare himself with prayers and blessings. Mount Blanca, the White Shell Mountain, represented the east and marked the northeastern corner of the safe area. It stood near Alamosa, Colorado. Mount Taylor, the Turquoise Mountain, at Grants, New Mexico, represented the south and marked the southeastern corner.

That day we would follow the three hundred sheep to a new grazing area, where we’d stay for a few days before moving on. Ewes and lambs made up our herd, along with a few goats and kids. The eight rams belonging to Grandmother, Shimásání (the old mother), were corralled until mating season. The really young lambs and kids were corralled separately, and didn’t accompany the herd until they were strong enough to keep up. When we had newborns in the herd—in the spring—we brought the mothers back to nurse them at night or nursed them by bottle.

Roy chuckled. “Yeah. ” “Ouu. ” I hesitated. ” Although we were supposed to take turns in our foxhole sleeping and keeping lookout, neither of us slept. Gunshots sounded in intermittent bursts, tearing through the dark, soggy night. Blue-white artillery tracers streaked across our field of vision—enemy artillery shells. Our own shells had red tracers. I couldn’t yet distinguish between the sounds of Japanese and American gunfire, but the colors were immediately evident. In the heavy murk, I tried to picture myself back home in sunny New Mexico.

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