Route 66 Young Marines Honor Navajo Code Talkers from World War II
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Route 66 Young Marines from Ash Fork, Ariz. joined over 175 fellow Young Marines youth members and adult volunteers from across the country in Window Rock, Ariz. on Aug. 14 to honor and learn from the Navajo Code Talkers and their families.
Every year on Aug. 14 the Navajo Nation celebrates an elite group of World War II veterans, the Navajo Code Talkers. These patriots served their country by transmitting top-secret messages across enemy lines using the Navajo language as code – the only code unbroken by the Japanese during World War II. To date, only three of these original 29 veterans remain. Since 2006 (except during Covid), the Young Marines have traveled to Arizona each year to celebrate the Navajo Code Talkers and to meet the few remaining survivors in person and to listen to their stories.
The Young Marines worked as escorts for these special veterans. They planned and participated in a community service clean-up at the Navajo Nation Zoo. The group also climbed the Navajo Code Talkers Monument in Window Rock. A major activity during the three days of service was to march in the Navajo Code Talker Day Parade.
“It is truly an honor for the Young Marines to celebrate with these World War II heroes every year,” said retired U.S. Marine Colonel William P. Davis, CEO of the Young Marines. “Meeting these soldiers who selflessly gave of themselves, and their heritage is a life-changing experience for our Young Marines and adult volunteers. The Young Marines are helping to preserve the legacy of these very special veterans. They will not be forgotten.”
The Navajo code talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They transmitted messages by telephone and radio in their native language, a code that the Japanese never broke.
The Young Marnes is a national youth organization for boys and girls from age 8 through high school graduation.