June was one of three surviving Navajo Code Talkers out of 29 who developed the code and system by which they communicated by radio across the South Pacific Ocean, in Navajo. Using a simple code for troops, ships, airplanes and other armaments, the Navajo Code Talkers passed crucial information between far-flung American forces, on regular radio waves. Japanese forces could easily intercept the broadcasts, but they did not speak Navajo, nor did they break the Navajo code.
After the original 29, many more Navajos got training and performed the critical communications functions.
I met several of these men through the good graces of my brother, Jerry Jones, who helped promote their recognition when he worked in Page, Arizona, in public relations for the Salt River Project’s Navajo Power Station. Jerry drew deep inspiration from the quiet dignity and great humility of these patriots. He would have been gratified to see them get the Congressional Gold Medal, a belated and too-small recognition for the great service they rendered our nation.
RIP, Alan Dale June.
- Photos and news from the July 26, 2001 Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, from the site of U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.
- Navajo Nation Council tribute to June
- Notice and tribute in Kayenta Today
- August AP story on the last three survivors of the original 29
- Brownielocks, a website devoted to the Navajo Code Talkers; also features the names of the World War II Comanche Code Talkers, and Code Talkers from other tribes
- Website dedicated to Samuel Tom Holiday, one of the Code Talkers