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Chester Nez, Last Original Navajo Code Talker, Dies At 93

Nez was part of a Marine Corps experiment in using the Navajo language to encrypt communication across enemy lines.
Posted at 8:31 PM, Jun 04, 2014

Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo Code Talkers from World War II, died Wednesday. (Via Flickr / Fronteras Desk

"I liked being a code talker very very much." (Via AZCentral.com)

During the war, the U.S. was looking for a way to encrypt communications sent across enemy lines. (Via Wikimedia Commons / HaeB)

According to AZCentral.com, "[The military] attempted to use various languages and dialects as code, but each was quickly cracked by cryptographers in Tokyo." 

That's when the U.S. Marine Corp recruited then-18-year-old Chester Nez to help the war effort. His native Navajo tongue was hardly ever written down, and the tones and complex grammar made the language very hard to understand.

Nez was one of the 29 original members of the 382nd Marine Platoon, a.k.a. the Navajo Code Talkers. (Via Flickr / Fronteras Desk)

"It's something that no one ever tried to break it. It has never been broken, the code." (Via AZCentral.com)

Nez would later attend the University of Kansas after the war but wasn't allowed to tell anyone about his unique service to his country. It wasn't until 1968 that the Navajo Code Talkers' mission was declassified. (Via University of Kansas)

"Our gratitude is now expressed for all time in the medals it is now my honor to present." (Via C-SPAN)

In 2001, Nez was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which recognizes historical or cultural achievements.

Nez reportedly died of kidney failure, he was 93 years old.