Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Book of the Navajo Code Talkers, WWII

I can't say enough good things about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and here is one of the books about them: It Had To Be Done - The Navajo Code Talkers Remember World War II.

This non-fiction book contains The Stories of a few of the Talkers in Their Own Words. Two of them were selling this book, Bill Toledo and Alfred Newman, and they also autographed it. The cover contains a picture of some of the Talkers with Navy landing craft in the background and there are pictures throughout the book.  Those still alive are in their late 80's and 90's. They talk about being recruited into the Marine Corps, their early lives, and their wartime adventures of island hopping in the Pacific as the U. S. invaded the Jap-held islands of Guam, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Peleliu, and others.

A number of the Talkers herded sheep and took care of the family's animals while growing up and didn't get to school often enough to finish and lacked a high school degree. They were taken into the service anyway, specifically to be Communications Specialists (Code Talkers) and had to memorize the complete Code, which no enemy ever broke. The Code is included in the book and you'll see it is quite extensive. Each of them were assigned a personal bodyguard who had to shoot them if they were captured, or they had to shoot themselves so as not to give up any info on the Code.

Their Words don't tell the complete story. There is very little talk about the bullets flying around and their courage and bravery, although it is mentioned a couple of times. And there were a helluva lot of bullets flying as is shown in the numbers below of the casualties on our side. The Japanese casualties in each case were triple or quadruple the Americans. The battles lasted around thirty days each, give or take a few days.

U. S. Casualties:

     Guadalcanal - 7,100 dead, 4 captured, 29 ships lost, 615 aircraft lost
     Bougainville - 727 dead
     Guam - 1,783 dead, 6,010 wounded
     Peleliu - 1,508 killed, 6,635 wounded, 36 missing. U. S. Marine casualties on Peleliu:
                   1,300 killed, 6,450 wounded, 36 missing. The others were U.S. Army.
(Source: Wikipedia)

And this doesn't include the islands of Iwo Jima, Saipan, Kwajalein, Tarawa, Wake, and the other battles. A Pima Indian, Ira Hayes, assisted in raising the American Flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

We all owe these Navajo Code Talkers our respect and a big thanks for their service.


  1. I knew next to zero about this subject, and you got me to go over to wikipedia to learn something about it. Would like to read the/a book.

    1. The Code Talkers have several books published and I would've bought a couple others, but ran out of money. Their autographs were high in this case. They said this was the only source of funds to travel and pay expenses - selling and signing books.