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Redskins Honor Code Talkers

Posted by Redskins.com on November 25, 2013 – 9:57 pm

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For decades, they kept their honor a secret.

When the Navajo Code Talkers were asked about their role supporting the United States in World War II, they would leave out the most important part of the story. They said they were radio communications men, nothing more. The truth was 400 of them, some only 16 and 17 years old, used their Native American language to send American messages Japanese code breakers could not solve.

The Washington Redskins honored four of these Native American heroes on Monday, recognizing them at halftime during their home game against the 49ers and hosting the veterans for a private guided tour of National Museum of the Marine Corps.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Peter MacDonald said he didn’t talk about his role in the war until he saw a story about code talkers in a 1950s newspaper. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to earn an electrical engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma and became the only four-term Chairman of the Navajo Tribe.

Roy Hawthorne was a code talker for the Marine Corps in World War II and also served in Korea. He described the museum tour on Monday as “overwhelming.”

“It makes me so appreciative of the fact that I could have been used to defend America,” Hawthorne said.


“When I went into the Marine Corps as a 17-year-old boy, I felt invincible. The Marine Corps didn’t diminish that at all. So even today I feel invincible because we have this great country that God has given us. I’m ready to do it again.”

George James was a code talker stationed with the Marine Corps at Iwo Jima. When his unit’s artillery men drew heavy casualties, he volunteered for three days on the front line.

He’ll always be proud of his contribution.

“We turned everything around,” James said. “Won the war on it.”


For a full photo gallery of the day’s events, click here.

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7 Responses to “Redskins Honor Code Talkers”

  1. By Janine "TsimshianLady" "LadyofRedskins" VanDenBerg on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    I as a 100 % Native American from the Tsimshian Nation was more than proud tonight to see our true Americans being honored for their service. It has been way past die! Thank you Dan Snyder for bring the Redskins name to glory! I stand 150% behind you to keep the Redskins name. We as Native Americans are a proud nation in our own quiet way! But you honored these amazing people with recognition way over due! Thank you so Much Mr Dan Snyder. What a true blessing. I cried!!!!!! You have no idea how special it was to see my people on the Redskins field!!!!! Hail to the Navajo Code talkers, hail to the Navajos. hail to the Tsimshians, and all our nations!!!!!!! With love Janine “LadyofRedskins” VanDenBerg

  2. By Jeff HTRR4LIFE Charley on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    As A Navajo I Thank This Organization For Honoring The Navajo Code Talkers And All Veterans. Also thanks To all The Veterans For Serving Are Country, God Bless You All……

  3. By missscrysss on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    1/2 Cherokee & I thought it was an absolutely beautiful tribute! Hail to the REDSKINS!

  4. By Jodi Sue I'mnottellinya on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply


  5. By robertdknight on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    It was a fitting tribute. Hope to see more like it.

  6. By Jodi Sue I'mnottellinya on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    I thought it was a beautiful Tribute. I also support and thank Dan Snyder for supporting the Washington Redskins name 🙂 HTTR! 4LIFE REDSKINS NATION!!! HAIL!

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