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Navajo Code Talkers honored

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Navajo Code Talkers, the elite group of Marine recruits whose native language was used to create a code that proved to be unbreakable by the Japanese during World War II, were honored Saturday with the formal dedication of a monument at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial in southeast Albuquerque.

From left, Navajo Code Talkers Thomas H. Begay, David Patterson and Joe Vandever Sr. attended the monument dedication ceremony. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

From left, Navajo Code Talkers Thomas H. Begay, David Patterson and Joe Vandever Sr. attended the monument dedication ceremony. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Because the military didn’t declassify documents acknowledging the Code Talkers’ role in the war until 1968, their accomplishments were unheralded for decades.

Members of the U. S. Marine Corps Honor Guard help artist Ben Hazard, right, unveil the Navajo Code Talkers Monument on Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

Members of the U. S. Marine Corps Honor Guard help artist Ben Hazard, right, unveil the Navajo Code Talkers Monument on Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

The original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, who developed the code, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001. Their compatriots, which numbered about 500, were awarded Congressional Silver Medals.

The monument, crafted by artist Ben Hazard, was installed on Sept. 21.

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