5 of these "code talkers" were presented by George W. Bush
with the Congressional Medal of Honor
"It is, I think, one of the greatest honors that you can bestow on the code talkers," said code talker Chester Nez
, before the ceremony. "I'm really happy about it."
"When we went into the Marine Corps
, we didn't know what it was that we were going to do," said Nez. "But after we got out of boot camp and went to a place called Camp Elliot
... and there was the first time we found out that we was to use our own language to translate in the combat area.
All of the 29 Marines
that I went in (with), we got together and made a code in our own language. There were over four or 500 words that we made up at that time. We memorized them and everything was up here," Nez said.
"And nobody knew. The Japanese
pulled all of their hair out trying to decipher the code. But it's one of the hardest languages to learn, that's why it was never decoded or deciphered."
The Navajos were the only code talkers honored today, but they were not the only code talkers used by the U.S. military -- Cherokee, Comanches and Choctaws have also been code talkers.
quotes taken from a CNN story