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Wed Mar 27, 2019, 01:10 PM

Tlingit Code Talkers feted in Alaska for World War II role

The Associated Press Retweeted

Giving wartime credit where long overdue: Long-deceased Alaska Native men hailed for use of unbreakable Tlingit codes during WWII. Story: http://apne.ws/LllUyaJ



Tlingit Code Talkers feted in Alaska for World War II role
By RACHEL D'ORO
today

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Army veteran Richard Bean Sr. took his wartime secret to the grave, dying a hero without anyone knowing about it for decades. ... Now, Bean and four other long-deceased Alaska Natives are being hailed in their home state this month for their lifesaving efforts as servicemen.

During World War II, they made good use of the Tlingit language they were forbidden to speak as schoolchildren in their southeast Alaska villages. They used their native language to help the military outsmart the Japanese with codes they could not break, as did their more well-known peers, the Navajo Code Talkers.
....

The military declassified the Navajo Code Talker program in 1968. But it would be decades before recognition came to the Tlingit servicemen, after the passage of the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.

Sheakley, commander of the Southeast Alaska Native Veterans, received a call after that from Department of Defense officials. They told him the five Alaskans had been identified as Code Talkers from the Tlingit tribe, along with others from 32 Lower-48 tribes. Soon they would get the recognition long afforded to the Navajos, who made up the largest group of WWII Code Talkers.
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