U.S. Senators consider war honors for all codetalkers

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (AP) 9-08

The U.S. House has voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal to “code talkers” who served in the nation’s armed services during World Wars I and II.

Legislation authored by Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., passed by a voice vote and now goes to the Senate. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is expected to push for quick passage, The Oklahoman reported from its Washington bureau.

Code talkers were American Indians who were able to transmit vital communications using their native languages that German forces could not decipher.


The Navajo code talkers were recognized by Congress in 2001. However, Boren’s legislation will award a Congressional Gold Medal to every tribe that had a code talker and a duplicate silver medal to the code talkers themselves.

There are thought to be 13 tribes that had code talkers, but the Defense Department will make the final determination.

“It is an honor to have carried this important legislation to commemorate some of America’s most exceptional war heroes,” Boren said.

“The story of the Native American code talkers is one of great distinction, and we should all be proud that these brave men served our nation in the name of liberty and justice. Through their unique language, they were a critical part of the allies’ victory over our enemies in both World War I and II.”

Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle, whose tribe’s code talkers have been credited with turning the tide of a key battle in World War I, said: “The tribe honors veterans and soldiers who are willing to serve our great country, and we owe a special debt to the men who served as code talkers. The Choctaw code talkers are now deceased, but their families are very proud of this tremendous honor.”