Disappearing Heroes: WWII Code Talkers Leaving Us Too Fast
Window Rock, Arizona – On Saturday, another WWII Marine, Navajo Code Talker finished his time on earth and entered the pearly gates. Roy Hawthorne, Sr passed away at the age of 92. The Code Talkers are our disappearing heroes.
Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, died Saturday at 92 years old.
Hawthorne, one of the last surviving Code Talkers from WWII, enlisted in the Corps at 17 and became part of a legendary group of Native Americans who encoded messages in the Navajo language.
Semper Fi, Sir pic.twitter.com/jvy9joA0v4
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) April 24, 2018
Hawthorne was among the elite group of Navajo whose coded messages helped the US achieve victory in WWII. Their code was never broken by the Japanese. The original 29 members of the code talkers have all passed. The last remaning original was Chester Nez, who died in 2014. Since then, those who followed in their footsteps have been disappearing at an alarming rate.
Roy Hawthorne, Sr was active in public events, and served as Vice President of the Code Talkers group. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 and served both in WWII and the Korean War. After his service in the Marines, he joined the Army. He is survived by 5 children and over 12 grandchildren, according to Stripes.
Most of the Code Talkers kept their service a secret even after the program was declassified in 1968. Congress decided to knowledge their service with Gold Congressional medals for the original 29, and Silver ones for the rest. Even with that, some were overlooked. Adolph Nagurski finally got his silver medal this year after he passed away in 2013, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
At least two Code Talkers, Teddy Draper, Sr. and George B. Willie, passed in December of 2017. Several passed in September of 2014: names like Guy Clauschee Robert Walley Sr., David Jordan, and Wilford Buck.
These all were men who were willing to endure serious discrimination in order to serve their country. Most of them, like Roy Hawthorne, never thought of themselves as heroes. But heroes they were, preventing the enemy from learning of America’s plans.
Semper Fi, gentlemen.
Featured photo of Roy Hawthorne Sr., via US Marine Corps