The U.S. Government recently honored the efforts of Native Americans in defending our country in times of war. A white house ceremony in November recognized the heroic exploits of the ‘code talkers’, members of the Navajo Nation who participated on behalf of the United States during World War 2.
The ceremony took place a few days before the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Navy. Native Americans, as well as other minorities, played an integral part in the victory that America would ultimately gain in the war.
By the war’s end over 44,000 Native Americans had served in the United States armed forces. This was over 10% of the Native American population at the time. Many of these Native Americans distinguished themselves as model soldiers.
The wartime contributions of Native Americans were not isolated to World War 2.
During the Vietnam war James Elliott Williams, a member of the Cherokee nation commanded a Navy patrol boat. On a Halloween day in 1966, the patrol boat of Williams, as well as a partner boat, began to take heavy fire from the enemy.
Williams quickly took control of the situation He coordinated both movement and fire of patrol boats and called in support fire from Navy helicopters. Due in large parts to the efforts of Williams, U.S. forces were able to destroy over 50 vessels and nearly 1000 enemy troops.
More on the honoring of the code talkers and other Native American war heroes can be seen at the Chicago Tribune.
Categories: Code Talkers, Native American, Native American Veterans