About Stewart Clah, Navajo Code Talker
Birth: Sep. 15, 1919 Rock Point Apache County Arizona, USA Death: Apr. 29, 2007 Farmington San Juan County New Mexico, USA
USMC WWII Navajo Code Talker Stewart Clah of Tse' Daa' Kaan, New Mexico, died Sunday in his sleep, he was 87 years old. He was Ta'neeszahnii (Tangled People) born for Ashiih (Salt Clan). He graduated from Shiprock Agricultural High School in 1940 and in 1941 he married Marie Yazzie (who preceded him in death). On July 18, 1944, he was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps. The Code Talkers are in their 80's and 90's now but their popularity remains strong with the Navajos. Their gallant heroism will be passed down to the next generation with pride and honor. The story of how the Code Talkers is very interesting. Phillip Johnston, WWI Veteran, had lived on the Navajo Reservation and could speak the language. Before WWII every code that had been created for warfare had been broken. Phillip knew they needed a code that could not be broken. In 1942 the Marine Corps recruited 29 Navajos (382nd Platoon) to write the unbreakable code. There were approximately 420 Navajos trained to be Code Talkers by the end of the war. Since this code was a classified military secret, the Code Talkers were not given recognition during WWII for their heroic deeds. In December 1971, President Nixon presented the Code Talkers with a Certificate of Appreciation thanking them for their Patriotism, Courage and Resourcefulness. They had given the Marine Corps its only unbreakable means of battlefield communication, saving thousands of American lives in the process. They received recognition 1981 when President Reagan honored the Code Talkers with a Presidential Proclamation designating August 14th as Navajo Code Talker Day. In 2001 the Code Talkers were awarded Congressional Medals. The first 29 Navajo Code Talkers (382nd Platoon) were awarded Gold Congressional Medals and the 420 Code Talkers who were recruited later were awarded Silver Congressional Medals. Unfortunately by 2001, their families accepted the Medals because many had passed away. Today there are a lot of websites about that Code Talkers. Books have been written, coins and Code Talker dolls (using Sam Billison's voice in Navajo and English) are being auctioned off at other websites. In 2002 the movie 'Windtalkers' starring Nicholas Cage added to their popularity. Today the remaining Code Talkers still speak at events and still participate in parades and are always in high demand to share their stories. Clah often wore a black Code Talker baseball cap with the words, "I served with pride." He served in Midway, Saipan, Guam and Guadalcanal transmitting radio message in the unbreakable code. After the war he returned to Shiprock, New Mexico and worked as a cook and a baker at the boarding school and later at the BHP Navajo Mine as a Security Guard. He retired in 1987.
Created by: Andrena's Daughter Record added: May 03, 2007 Find A Grave Memorial# 19195800