Mayor Honors an Original Code Talker
January 23, 2012
Albuquerque, NM— Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized World War II Code Talker Chester Nez for his integral part in America’s victory over Japan. Nez was part of the original 29 code talkers, and he is now the last surviving member. Monday, Jan. 23rd is Nez’ birthday and the Mayor invited Nez and his family to City Hall for a celebration of his life and accomplishments. The Mayor also proclaimed today, Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez Day, in honor of his courageous actions during WWII.
Nez enlisted in the 382nd United States Marines following the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Nez and his fellow "coders" used their linguistic abilities to help the United States of America win a six year battle with Japan.
A New Mexico native, Nez, was born on a Navajo reservation in western New Mexico. When he was a student at a boarding school in Arizona, Nez was forced to suppress his Native Navajo language, which ironically contributed to American forces being able to send unbreakable messages to one another.
At age 92, Nez remains a hero to his nation, and his home state, "Birthday cake and a proclamation is our simple way of saying 'Thank You' to Chester Nez for his years of service and his heroic action," said Mayor Berry. "It is important for us to continue to telling Mr. Nez' story to the next generations, and I’m so glad he’s here to help us do just that."
Today Nez cut the cake and celebrated his birthday surrounded by his family, local veterans, Mayor Berry, and City Councilors Dan Lewis and Trudy Jones. Nez also signed copies of the recently released book Code Talker, which he co-authored with Judith Schiess Avila.