Original World War II Navajo talker dies

May 22, 2009 at 2:48 PM
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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz., May 22 (UPI) -- John Brown Jr., one of the original 29 Navajo code talkers who made a big impact during World War II, has died at the age of 87, the Navajo Nation said.

Brown, who lived in Crystal, N.M., died Wednesday, the Santa Fe New Mexican said.

Brown received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001 from President George W. Bush in recognition of his service during World War II, a Navajo Nation news release said.

He was born on Dec. 24, 1921, to Nonabah Bia Begay and Little Policeman (the late John Brown Sr.) in Chinle, Ariz., near Canyon De Chelly.

Brown served in World War II with the U.S. Marines as one of the first of the Navajo Code Talkers, whose ranks eventually exceeded 400, from 1942 to 1945, performing a vital and unusual service.

The Code Talker's primary job was to talk and transmit information on tactics, troop movements, orders and other important battlefield information over telegraphs and radios in their native dialect, which totally confused the enemy,

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