|12:38 PM EDT||
Kay Granger, R-TX 12th
Ms. GRANGER. Mr. Speaker, millions of people poured into movie theaters this weekend to see the movie ``Wind Talkers'' with Nicholas Cage. The movie is set during World War II against the backdrop of the horrific battle of Saipan; the drama revolves around the Navajo ``code talker.''
The so-called code talkers were native Americans who used their native dialect to radio important messages in code to our allied troops. The movie ``Wind Talkers'' focuses on a Navajo code talker who was the Marines' first new secret weapon against the Japanese. The movie explores just how far our Marines were willing to go to protect the code.
We all know that in our fast-paced, modern world, movies are our storytellers. Hollywood often misses some of the facts, but in this case I am proud to see the tale of these code talker heroes being told so publicly. In my mind, the Native American code talkers are some of the Nation's greatest heroes.
Today, it is time for Congress to give all of the Native American code talkers the recognition they deserve for their contribution to U.S. victories in World War I and World War II.
Like the Navajo code talkers who were recognized for services last year, the Comanche, Choctaw and Sioux Indians also served as code talkers in both the Pacific and European theaters during World War II. We also know that the Choctaw code talkers served our country as early as World War I.
These code talkers were sent out on their own to provide communications on enemy location and strength. They sometimes spent 24 hours using headphones without sleep or food. Many of [Page: H3617]
these men endured terrible conditions without protection from the enemy. Military commanders credit the code talkers with saving the lives of countless American soldiers and ultimately to the success of the United States in many battles.
The story of the code talkers was highlighted for me last year by a constituent of mine, Ben Tahmahkera. He came to me and pointed out that in July, President Bush honored the Navajo code talkers for their contribution to the United States Armed Forces as radio operators in World War II. Mr. Tahmahkera was very pleased to hear about the Navajo recognition, but he wanted to make sure the sacrifices of the Comanche code talkers and other code talkers were not forgotten either.
Ben Tahmahkera suggested that I learn more about Charles Chi-bitty, who today is the only surviving Comanche code talker. Charles Chi-bitty lives near Tulsa, Oklahoma, today and he is 80 years old. In January of 1941, Chi-bitty enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to the Army's 4th signal company. Chi-bitty probably himself saved thousands of lives during the Normandy invasion alone and he can still remember the messages he received and sent out on D-Day. On that day he identified
where our troops were, protected them from being fired on by our own troops and, in general, completely confused the Germans. Chi-bitty specifically remembers saying in code to our men, ``Okay, we know where you are, just keep doing what you are doing.''
The code that Chi-bitty used was never broken and, for a long time, the Germans believed it was just gibberish. Eventually, the Germans sent spies to training grounds in Fort Gordon and to reservations in Oklahoma to try and crack the code. None of the spy missions were successful.
Charles Chi-bitty, a true American hero, was also a loyal friend. He once turned down the Medal of Honor because it did not include all members of the 4th signal company whom he considers his brothers. Chi-bitty says, ``I am glad I am still here, but I miss my comrades. I know that my comrades that have already gone before me are listening and laughing right now. I know when I go up there some day, they will be there waiting.''
Mr. Speaker, today we honor Charles Chi-bitty and all of the other Native American code talkers who so valiantly fought for our country and protected our Nation. H.R. 3250 authorizes the President to present a Congressional Gold Medal to these Native Americans who served as code talkers during both World War I and II. H.R. 3250 gives these men the honor they so richly deserve. Please support H.R. 3250.