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80 years later, Navajo Code Talker marks group's early days

Navajo Code Talkers Preston Toledo and Frank Toledo cousins cia.gov.jpg
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Navajo Code Talkers in the South Pacific

PHOENIX (AP) — One of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers says Sunday that the code based on his then-unwritten native language was the hardest thing to learn. Thomas H. Begay spoke at a Phoenix ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the elite World War II group and its code that confounded Japanese military cryptologists. Hundreds of Navajos were recruited by the U.S. Marines to serve as code talkers during the war. The 98-year-old Begay is one of three who is still alive to talk about it. The Code Talkers participated in all assaults the Marines led in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945 including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu and Iwo Jima.