On August 14th. 1982 President Ronald Regan instituted that day to honor the 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corp. who used their Native-American language as a means to transmit secretive messages among our fighting soldiers throughout the Pacific Theatre in hope of defeating the Axis powers.
The idea of using the Navajo language was actually proposed by a son of a missionary, Philip Johnston. Moving with his family to Arizona in 1896 , the elder Johnston was to intervene the violent tensions between the Navajos and Anglos over the rustlings of the Navajo livestock. By 1901 the young Johnston boy(Philip) learned to speak Navajo with the other children. Through the dedication of the Johnston family they were able to speak to then President Theodore Roosevelt which lead to expanding the land occupied by the Navajo Reservation. While serving in World WarI Philip Johnston learned about the Comanches used as Code Talkers by the U.S. Army. Working as a civilian in Los Angeles when the attack of Pearl harbor occurred, He presented to the US Marine Corp. the using of specialized Navajos that were bilingual, to be able to communicate among themselves, thus having a defense of any Japanese interception.
On the morning of May 4, 1942, the first twenty-nine Navajo(Code Talkers)recruits boarded the bus at Fort Defiance, Arizona. Upon the completion of the seven week program, 382 Navajo graduates eventually were ready to report to Camp Elliot for their basic communication training. By December 7, 1942, a very proud Staff Sergeant Philip Johnston supervised The Navajo School of Communications, (approximately 450 gradutes)
How one man’s vision, and the use of a special Navajo language was very much responsible for the personal freedom I enjoy today. My heart and prayers go out to all of the families of the fallen Code Talkers.
Today is a day to celebrate, honor, and fly all of all Our American Flags at Half Staff. Thank You Philip Johnston.