June 11, 2002
Prologue Magazine Article Tells Story of World War II Navajo "Code Talkers"
A new motion picture, Windtalkers, depicts how the U.S. Marine Corps, in World War II, enlisted Navajo Indians as "code talkers." These Native Americans became signalmen and used their own mostly unwritten Navajo language to code and send messages and help the Marines battle across the Pacific from 1942 to 1945.
The Japanese were never able to break the code.
After the war, the "code talkers" returned home but were sworn to secrecy about the code, which remained classified until 1968. Last summer, in a US Capitol ceremony, President George W. Bush honored 29 of the code talkers with special gold medals.
The story of the real "code talkers" is told in the Winter 2001 issue of Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration. It is available on the World Wide Web at www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/winter_2001_navajo_code_talkers.html
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail. Visit the National Archives Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.archives.gov.