“I served during World War II as a Navajo Code Talker with the United States Marine Corps. I served there for a little over two years stymieing the Japanese with our language that we had developed a code from, the ancient language,” recounts Ray Hawthorne.
“When we got in the military we had to talk about submarines, bombers, battleships and all these types of things. For a reconnaissance plane: it flies at night, it is quiet, doesn’t carry any armament… it’s a hummingbird,” Hawthorne explaining how they used their imagination to describe things that they didn’t have words for in the Navajo language.
“To give the rank of a commanding officer who may be a captain, to say captain, we would use the term railroad track… we’d say two tracks,” the veteran continued.
Hawthorne is proud to make a difference in the war, “We didn’t win the war by ourselves, but we were very instrumental in the war’s favorable outcome for our country. We consider our language to be a precious commodity today.”
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