Oral History Interviews: WWII Navajo Code Talkers

by NinaShelton

C-SPAN3's American History TV
Oral Histories: Navajo Code Talkers
2pm ET Saturdays: March 30 - May 4, 2019


Navajo Code Talkers

For six consecutive Saturdays, American History TV airs interviews with former World War II Navajo Code Talkers who used their native language to secretly communicate operational plans. They reflect on the reasons they joined the war effort, their Marine Corps service in the Pacific, and on their childhood, including life on the Navajo Nation tribal lands and some as students at Christian missionary schools. The six men returned between 2004 and 2006 to the battlefield islands of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Saipan, Guam and Tinian. Historian and filmmaker George Colburn interviewed the veterans on the islands and at their homes for his documentary "Navajo Code Talkers: Journey of Remembrance."

Our series features:

--March 30: Keith Little, Former Navajo Code Talker Association president who served in the 4th Marine Division.

--April 6: Samuel "Jesse" Smith, who served with the 4th Marine Division and transmitted messages for General Clifton B. Cates.

--April 13: Teddy Draper, who served with the 5th Marine Division and was present during the American flag-raising on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi.

--April 20: Samuel Sandoval, who served in Platoon 297, one of only two all-Navajo platoons. He helped to increase the Navajo Code lexicon from 200 to 800 words

--April 27: Albert Smith, who served with the 4th Division Battalion, 23rd regiment. He enlisted at the age of 15.

--May 4: Samuel Tso, Navajo Code Talkers Association vice president who served in the 5th Marine Division.

Before each interview, we learn more about the project and the veterans from documentary producer and director George Colburn.

For more information about the collection:

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