Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA The Navajo Nation and others in Indian Country are mourning the passing of Navajo Code Talker Nelson Draper who walked on early Sunday, September 22. He was 96 years old.
He entered the US Marine Corp when he was 25 years old after the United States entered World War II. He became a code talker and fought in the Pacific front in both Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The Navajo Code Talkers were a group of Marines who created a code using their Navajo language. The opposition was never able to decode it; thus, it greatly increased the United States ability to ultimately win World War II.
Originally from Chinle, Arizona, after the conclusion of the World War II, Draper relocated to Barstow, California where he worked at the Marines Corp Logistic Base for over 30 years. He and his wife, Lean, remained in Barstow after he retired from the Marines Corp.
Along with other Code Talkers, he received the Congressional Silver Medal for his role in World War II.
“I feel it means I'm a good fighter, a good warrior,”
upon receiving his Congressional Silver Medal.
The Navajo Code Talkers was a group of Navajo tribal members who created a code, in Navajo, the Japanese couldn't crack. The code helped the United States win World War II.
Draper is survived by seven children, 35 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren.
posted September 25, 2013 4:40 pm edt