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Code Talkers Have Served the Military Well—and Often Secretly

By Rebecca Jacobs August 8, 2011

Most people know about the Navajo code talkers who served in the U.S. military in World War II, but few know that members of at least 19 American Indian tribes acted as code talkers for the U.S. Army, Navy and Marines during both world wars. Choctaw members of the Army’s 36th Division in France transmitted messages in their Native language that were undecipherable by German forces. Until that point in the war, no transmitted message had been sent by the Allies that was not decoded by the Germans. Ruth McMillan, daughter of the late Choctaw code talker Tobias Frazier, remembers her father’s words: “Papa said—and everybody says—that the [Allied Forces] were beaten when they got [to Europe], and then we won those two battles [using code talkers], and it really turned the course of the war.”

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