Navajo Code Talkers Day

Saturday, August 14


Navajo cousins Private First Class Preston Toledo (left) and Private First Class Frank Toledo were both Code Talkers. They served in a marine artillery regiment in the South Pacific.

Two Navajo Code Talkers. Photograph courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, 12-GR-1375-7875


On this day, COPE celebrates Navajo Code Talkers - their essential contributions to the world, and their role in our community.

In 1942, 29 Navajo men joined the U.S. Marines and developed an unbreakable code that would be used across the Pacific during World War II. The Navajo Code Talkers participated in all assaults the U.S. Marines led in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945, conveying messages by telephone and radio in their native language, a code that was never broken. Approximately 400 Code Talkers from Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Laguna, Sioux, Comanche, and other American Indian communities served in World War II


Learn more about Code Talkers in this interactive series Native Words, Native Warriors.


The gallery explores the lives and experiences of American Indian Code Talkers, the service members who used their traditional tribal languages to transmit secret messages for the United States military during World War I and World War II.



Native Words, Native Warriors was produced by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian Institution.

Navajo Code Talkers Corporal Henry Bahe Jr. (left) and Private First Class George H. Kirk operate a portable radio set in a clearing they hacked in the dense jungle. They are close behind the front lines on Bougainville, an island in the South Pacific, in December 1943.


Corporal Henry Bahe Jr. and Private First Class George H. Kirk, Bougainville, December 1943. United States Marine Corps photograph, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, 127-MN-69889-B


Local celebrations commemorating Navajo Code Talkers

Virtual Celebration

On Saturday, August 14th, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer, 24th Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon, and Chief Justice JoAnn B. Jayne will honor and pay tribute to all Navajo Code Talkers, their families, and communities during a live virtual tribute event on the Nez-Lizer Facebook page and YouTube channel.