Honoring American Indian Veterans: Navajo

David Jordan lives in the Four Corners area of Navajo Reservation, his home nestled in the Carrizo Mountains.  David is a Navajo Code Talker and a significant contributor to the history of America and the Navajo Nation. David was drafted right after high school into the Marine Corps.  He received the typical training of any Marine and says that a lot of the boarding school kids that were recruited made “good marksmen” in the military–“gotta be steady.” 

Marine Veteran & Code Talker David Jordan, Navajo Reservation

David also received specialized training to belong to the elite group of US Marine Corps World War II Navajo Code Talkers.  The Navajo language that David was brought up on as a child was used to ensure secure communications against the enemy during the war.  David is quick to say he was not part of the original “29,” meaning the first 29 Navajo selected as Code Talkers, but he is among the 400 or so that served their country in this capacity.    

David said he was first taken to Shiprock, then to San Diego for boot camp, and then onto Camp Elliott for the Code Talker training.  He recalls being told to “talk like a Marine” and they certainly looked the part with their heads “shaved clean.” David was in Iwo Jima during the campaign and shared, “I was in the field when they did the flag raising” (with Pima hero Ira Hayes).  
 
The Code Talkers’ work was kept secret for so long. The code was broken in the late 1960’s, but the journey for recognition was a longer road.  In 1982, former President Reagan proclaimed August 14th as National Navajo Code Talkers Day, and in 2000, former President Bush awarded the original 29 the gold Congressional Medal of Honor. All other Code Talkers (including David) received the silver Medal of Honor. 
 

The Navajo community of Sweetwater recently honored David for his service to country and clan.  He was presented with gifts and a Marine Corp scrap book that included photos of his service during the war.  These tributes have all been part of an honoring long overdue for so many American Indian warriors who sacrificed their lives for their country.     

     

     

**Laura Schad is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in SD and holds an Associate’s in Early Childhood Education from Oglala Lakota College. For over a decade, she worked with Head Start and rural initiatives. Currently, she does field visits with NRC Program Partners and participants on many reservations.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 26, 2015 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    WE are all so proud of your service and sacrifice for your/our Country

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