August 14, 2019

Udall Statement on National Navajo Code Talkers Day

WASHINGTON – Today, on National Navajo Code Talkers Day, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement in honor of the legendary bravery and service of Navajo Code Talkers during World War II: 

“In May of 1942, in the midst of World War II, 29 young Navajo recruits arrived at Camp Pendleton, where they embarked on a secret mission: To develop a code so strong it couldn’t be cracked. Without using any modern technology, they developed a secret code based on the Navajo language that helped save the lives of countless Allied troops and played a pivotal role in securing victory in the Pacific — even as they faced discrimination at home. The complex code they crafted remains one of the only unbroken codes in the history of modern warfare. And the story of the Navajo Code Talkers, whose numbers swelled to over 400 as the war progressed, still stands as one of the most compelling in American military history.

“But for too long, their story went untold, and their heroic achievements went unrecognized for decades. On National Navajo Code Talkers Day, we remember these great Americans and commemorate their strength and their sacrifice. We best honor their service by pledging to serve Native veterans as well as they have served us and upholding the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to Indian Country. We owe the Code Talkers a deep debt of gratitude for their extraordinary courage and commitment – both forever unbreakable, just like their code.”