3:39 PM EDT

Bob Ney, R-OH 18th

Mr. NEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, during the Second World War, the United States Government called upon 29 Navajo men from the Navajo Nation to support the military effort by serving as Marine Corps radio operators. The actual number of enlistees later increased to over 350.

The Japanese had deciphered the military code developed by the United States for transmitting messages and the Navajo Marine Corps radio operators, who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers, developed a new code using their language to communicate military messages in the Pacific.

Throughout its extensive use, the code developed by these Native Americans proved unbreakable. The Navajos were people who had been discouraged from using their own language. Ultimately, the code they developed using the same language would be credited with saving the lives of many American soldiers and several successful United States military engagements during World War II. It is an extreme honor to bring this legislation to the floor today authorizing a ceremony to be held in the Capitol

Rotunda presenting Congressional Gold Medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. Their contribution to this Nation proved immeasurable.

3:39 PM EDT

Bob Ney, R-OH 18th

Mr. NEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, during the Second World War, the United States Government called upon 29 Navajo men from the Navajo Nation to support the military effort by serving as Marine Corps radio operators. The actual number of enlistees later increased to over 350.

The Japanese had deciphered the military code developed by the United States for transmitting messages and the Navajo Marine Corps radio operators, who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers, developed a new code using their language to communicate military messages in the Pacific.

Throughout its extensive use, the code developed by these Native Americans proved unbreakable. The Navajos were people who had been discouraged from using their own language. Ultimately, the code they developed using the same language would be credited with saving the lives of many American soldiers and several successful United States military engagements during World War II. It is an extreme honor to bring this legislation to the floor today authorizing a ceremony to be held in the Capitol

Rotunda presenting Congressional Gold Medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. Their contribution to this Nation proved immeasurable.

3:40 PM EDT

David Dreier, R-CA 28th

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. NEY) for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to congratulate the gentleman on his statement and say that we look anxiously towards that program which will be held later this month.

I, last week, had the opportunity to meet with some people at MGM, and the motion picture which is going to be coming out on the work of the Navajo Code Talkers should be fascinating. I have the trailer upstairs. I have not seen it yet, but I know from the early reports we have seen that it will be a wonderful presentation of the work of these courageous people and the role that that they played during the Second World War.

I would like to strongly support the effort that is being led by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. NEY), and it looks to me as if the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. UDALL) is also working on this. I believe that it should be a great motion picture and a wonderful ceremony here, and I thank my friend for the leadership role he has played on this.

3:41 PM EDT

Tom Udall, D-NM 3rd

Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. NEY) and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER) for their efforts in bringing House Concurrent Resolution 174 to the floor today.

I introduced H. Con. Res. 174 on June 26, 2001, to authorize the Rotunda of the Capitol to be used on July 26, 2001, for a ceremony to present Congressional Gold Medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. This legislation will bring us one step closer to making the special and long overdue ceremony a reality.

I would also like to thank the 14 Members on both sides of the aisle who joined as original cosponsors to this measure.

During the 106th Congress, Senator JEFF BINGAMAN introduced legislation to honor the Navajo Code Talkers who played a pivotal role in World War II. I introduced the companion measure so that both Chambers could support these original 29 heroic men with the Congressional Gold Medal. In addition, a Silver Medal will be presented to the other Navajo Code Talkers who later followed the original 29.

Thanks to Senator Bingaman's efforts, language was included in the last year omnibus bill to honor these men. This was an effort that I and many of my colleagues supported in the House. These Code Talkers will soon receive their long overdue recognition for their service and the honor they brought to our country and to their people. This is a historic moment for the Navajo Nation and for all World War II veterans.

The medals that the President will present to these 29 men on behalf of Congress will express our appreciation for their dedication and service as Navajo Code Talkers. Of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers, 5 are still alive today. They are John Brown, Jr., of Navajo, New Mexico; Chester Nez of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Allen Dale June of West Valley City, Utah; Lloyd Oliver of Phoenix, Arizona; and Joe Palmer of Yuma, Arizona.

Mr. Speaker, during World War II, the Navajo Code Talkers took part in many assaults conducted by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific. In May 1942, the original 29 Navajo recruits attended Marine Boot Camp and worked to create the Navajo Code. The Navajo Code Talkers created messages by first translating Navajo words into English and then using the first letter of each English word to decipher their meaning. Because different Navajo words might be translated into different English words for the same

letter, the code was especially difficult to decipher.

[Time: 15:45]

The use of Native American languages in coded military communications was not new to World War II. Choctaw Indians, for example, served as Code Talkers in World War I. The idea of using Navajo as code in World War II came from a veteran of World War I, Phillip Johnston. Johnston knew of the military's search for a code that would withstand all attempts to decipher it. He was also the son of a missionary, raised on the Navajo Indian Reservation, spoke fluent Navajo, and believed that the Navajo

language was the answer to the military requirement for an indecipherable code, given that it was an unwritten language of extreme complexity.

The Navajo Code Talkers served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units. They transmitted messages by telephone and radio in a code derived from their Native language, a code, I may add, that was never broken by the Japanese. The Navajo code remained so valuable that the Department of Defense kept the code secret for 23 years [Page: H3825]

after World War II. Therefore, the Code Talkers never received the recognition they deserved.

The ceremony on July 26 will at long last pay full tribute to the brave Americans who used their Native language to help bring an end to World War II in the Pacific. I would also like to mention that a separate ceremony is being planned for later this fall in Arizona or New Mexico to present a silver medal to each man who later qualified as a Navajo Code Talker.

In closing, let me say that the Navajo language imparts a sense of feeling, history and tradition to all the Code Talkers who served valiantly in World War II. To the five Code Talkers who are with us today, to their families, and to those who are with us in spirit, I say a few words in Navajo, which I will translate.

Dine bizaad chooz' iidgo silaoltsooi niha nidaazbaa

Aadoo ak'ah dadeesdlii.

Nitsaago baa aheeh daniidzin.

Ahehee.

Which in English translates to, ``Let me express my deep gratitude to the Navajo Code Talkers who provided and helped to develop an ingenious code based on your language, and became the communications link to and from the front lines of the Allies in the Pacific War.'' Through the Navajo Code Talkers' bravery, their sacrifice, and the unbreakability of the code, the United States military was able to communicate with one another.

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I urge my colleagues to come together and support this resolution, support our Navajo veterans and every veteran who sacrificed their very lives for the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. KILDEE), the cochair of the Native American Caucus, who has also been a staunch leader on Native American issues in this body for many years.

3:48 PM EDT

Dale E. Kildee, D-MI 9th

Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Concurrent Resolution 174, the resolution sponsored by the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. UDALL), that authorizes the use of the Capitol Rotunda on July 26, 2001, for a ceremony to present the Congressional Gold Medal to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers.

I am honored to have been an original cosponsor of H.R. 4527, the legislation sponsored by my good friend the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. UDALL) that authorizes the President of the United States to award the gold medal on behalf of the Congress to each of the original Navajo Code Talkers.

I also want to acknowledge the work of Senator JEFF BINGAMAN for his efforts in getting the Senate version of the bill included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2001.

Mr. Speaker, awarding these medals to the brave Navajo men that served this country at a time of war by using the Navajo language to develop a unique and unbreakable code to communicate military messages in the Pacific is long overdue.

The United States Marine Corps recruited and enlisted 29 Navajo men to serve as Marine Corps radio operators. These men are referred to today as the Navajo Code Talkers. The number of Code Talkers would later increase to over 350. So successful was the code that the Code Talkers were sworn to secrecy, an oath they honored until 1968, when the Department of Defense declassified the code.

Mr. Speaker, the heroic efforts of these men saved the lives of many, including probably my own brother Kenneth Robert Kildee, and hastened the end of World War II in the Pacific theater.

I ask my colleagues for their support of this resolution so that Congress, through the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal, can finally express the gratitude of an entire Nation to these brave men for the contributions they made during a time of war and the valor with which they served their country.

3:50 PM EDT

Eni Faleomavaega, D-AS

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I certainly would like to thank the original sponsor of this legislation, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. UDALL), for his leadership and for bringing this legislation to the floor. I would also be remiss if I did not express my gratitude to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. NEY), the chairman of the Committee on House Administration, for his support, and also the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER), the ranking member of the Committee on House

Administration, for his support in bringing this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, as a former student of Brigham Young University, it was my privilege to know many students who are Americans of Navajo descent. If I could, I would like to say a fond hello in Navajo, Yateeh.

Mr. Speaker, I am honored as an original cosponsor to speak today in support of House Concurrent Resolution 174 to authorize the use of the Rotunda of the Capitol to be used later this month for a ceremony to present Congressional Gold Medals to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, a ceremony that is certainly long, long overdue.

Mr. Speaker, the idea of using an Indian language as a code was first tried during World War I by the Canadians. The Canadians used Choctaw Indians in their effort, but the experiment was not successful. The failure of this effort is attributed to the Indians knowing very little English and there being no equivalent terminology for the military terms.

The next effort to use an Indian language for a code during wartime was made by the Americans in World War II. The origin of this effort is credited to Phillip Johnston, who was the son of missionaries who did a lot of work among the Navajo Indians. Mr. Johnston brought their idea to the U.S. Marines in California. Because of the bad experience during World War I, still our government was very reluctant to be receptive to this kind of an idea.

Eventually the supporters of the Code Talkers prevailed, at least enough to conduct a test. Two Navajos were sent into one room, and two were put in a second room without visual contact. A message was given to the Navajos in the first room, and they were instructed to translate the message and send it to the other room. The three-line message was encoded, transmitted and decoded in 20 seconds. Encoding and decoding the same message by machine took 30 minutes, and the viability of using the Navajo

for military encryption became readily apparent.

Nevertheless, there was still some resistance to using American Indians to transmit military messages. An authorization was given to recruit only 30 Navajos for a pilot program. Recruiting potential Code Talkers and getting them through military training was not easy. Most Navajo did not speak English, and they were all coming from a very different culture.

Parts of their training, such as long runs in the hot sun or surviving in the desert with one canteen of water, came quite naturally to them. Other parts of the training, such as certain aspects of military discipline and the maintenance and repair of radio transmitters and receivers, were somewhat alien to them.

In constructing a code, the Navajo had to take several things into consideration. The code would have to be memorized. It would then be used in periods of conflict when tensions were running high and transmissions could be difficult to hear clearly because of static, close-by rifle fire and explosions.

With those constraints in mind, the Navajo used four basic rules in developing this code: 1. Each code word must have some logical connection to the actual word; 2. Each code word should be unusually descriptive or creative; 3. Each code word should be short; and, 4. No code word should be easily confused with another.

While developing the code, the Navajo were placed in battle simulations, and transmissions were monitored by military code breakers and Navajos who did not know the code. No one broke the code during these tests.

Mr. Speaker, the first 30 Code Talkers were sent into battle, and the pilot program was a success. Eventually 350 Code Talkers were employed in battle, including the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. At Iwo Jima alone, the Navajo [Page: H3826]

Code Talkers passed over 800 error-free messages in a 48-hour period.

The bottom line, Mr. Speaker, is that thousands of lives of our soldiers, sailors and marines were saved due to the outstanding job our Navajo Code Talkers made as part of our war effort during World War II, especially in places I had previously mentioned.

About 4 years ago, Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to travel with the late Senator John Chafee from Rhode Island to represent the Congress at a special ceremony whereby our government had authorized construction of a parliamentary building for the Solomon Islands Government as a gift from the people of the United States to commemorate one of the most fierce battles that took place in the South Pacific, the battle of Guadalcanal, where thousands of Marines lost their lives, and the late Senator

John Chafee was among the few 19-year-old Marines who fought in that terrible battle. It was a moving experience for both Senator Chafee and I to visit the remnants of that terrible conflict. The Navajo Code Talkers were a critical part of our success in winning the war in the Pacific.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that 29 of the original Code Talkers will be recognized later this month for their work. Because of the secrecy placed on the program, the valor the Navajo displayed during World War II was not recognized for decades. Their code was finally declassified in 1968, and it was only declassified then because electronic equipment had been developed that would be sufficient to meet military needs. The Navajo Code Talkers were also used in Korea in the 1950s, and even in Vietnam

in the 1960s.

Mr. Speaker, again, I thank the gentleman from New Mexico, Mr. UDALL, for his leadership in bringing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

3:57 PM EDT

Jim Matheson, D-UT 2nd

Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today in support of this resolution and in support of the valiant men who served their country in World War II. Those men, known today as the Navajo Code Talkers, played a key role in our Nation's victory in that great war.

Mr. Speaker, it was the cryptic language of the Navajo that was essential in the U.S. Marine takeover of vital areas like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Well-known to the Code Talkers are the words of Major Howard Connor, who said, ``Without the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.''

Today, we open up our Nation's Capitol to the few surviving Navajo Code Talkers. Later this month, the President will give them an honor long overdue. Mr. Speaker, only 5 of the original 29 Code Talkers are alive today. I am proud to say that one of those, Mr. Allan Dale June, lives in my home State of Utah. Mr. June, like so many others during World War II, sacrificed years of his life for the love of his country.

I would ask that all Members of this body join me today in thanking these men for their service. These medals, which can never fully compensate these men for their sacrifice, will at least ensure that their heroic deeds will never again be forgotten.

3:57 PM EDT

Jim Matheson, D-UT 2nd

Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today in support of this resolution and in support of the valiant men who served their country in World War II. Those men, known today as the Navajo Code Talkers, played a key role in our Nation's victory in that great war.

Mr. Speaker, it was the cryptic language of the Navajo that was essential in the U.S. Marine takeover of vital areas like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Well-known to the Code Talkers are the words of Major Howard Connor, who said, ``Without the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.''

Today, we open up our Nation's Capitol to the few surviving Navajo Code Talkers. Later this month, the President will give them an honor long overdue. Mr. Speaker, only 5 of the original 29 Code Talkers are alive today. I am proud to say that one of those, Mr. Allan Dale June, lives in my home State of Utah. Mr. June, like so many others during World War II, sacrificed years of his life for the love of his country.

I would ask that all Members of this body join me today in thanking these men for their service. These medals, which can never fully compensate these men for their sacrifice, will at least ensure that their heroic deeds will never again be forgotten.

3:58 PM EDT

Bob Ney, R-OH 18th

Mr. NEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the ranking member, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER), for his dedication to this issue, and also the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. UDALL) for his tremendous support of a very important issue.