Literally, the last of a dying breed, and nearly the last to speak a dying language, Robert Walley, 93, and Bill Toledo, 89, spoke to Fort Bliss Soldiers yesterday who thanked them for their extraordinary role in World War II.
The retired Marines, who still live in New Mexico, close to their roots, Walley and Toledo are on a national tour to raise awareness about Navajo Code Talkers.
Purple Heart recipient, Robert Walley, was a Marine Raider with the 6th Marine Division, from 1943 to 1945, where he served in Guam.
Toledo, with the 3rd Marine Division, served as a Code Talker from 1942 to 1945.
Both men were assigned to field communications in the South Pacific.
The Navajo Coder Talkers were engaged by the U.S. military to create a code using their native language. It was a WWII code that remained unbroken.
According to the official government website:
Maj. Howard Connor, a 5th Marine Division signal officer, said, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."
An historical reference to their work can be found at: www.navajo-nsn.gov .
Examiner’s Note: The Navajo language is not easy to learn or speak. Most younger generation Navajos have learned only a few words of their parents and grandparents native tongue. Native Americans continue to be the largest single ethnicity to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
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