PUBLIC NEWS RELEASES
Navajo Code Talkers honored on 75th anniversary of WWII
Thursday, August 15, 2019
 
More than 150 youth members of the Young Marines from across the country gathered in Window Rock, Arizona, to honor and learn from the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII.
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Angela M. Maness named to Board of Directors of the Young Marines
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
 
The members of the board of directors of the Young Marines announce a new board member – Angela M. Maness. She serves as the Senior Vice Commandant of her Marine Corps League Detachment and the 1st Vice President of the Women Marines Association.
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David S. Jonas named General Counsel of the Young Marines
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
 
The members of the Board of Directors of the Young Marines announce a new General Counsel – Young Marines board member David S. Jonas, a Partner at FH+H law firm in Tysons, Virginia.
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Megan Lynch, of Fountain Valley, California, named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
 
The Young Marines announced the 2019 - 2020 National Young Marine of the Year – YM/SgtMaj Megan Lynch, of Fountain Valley, California.
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North San Diego Young Marines named ‘2019 National Unit of the Year’
Monday, May 20, 2019
 
North San Diego Young Marines in Vista, California named ‘2019 National Unit of the Year’. The announcement was made May 18, at the annual Adult Leaders Conference held in Orlando, Florida.
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DEA presents Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena awards to six units of the Young Marines
Thursday, May 16, 2019
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Young Marines, a national youth organization, announced the Young Marines unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reducti
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Young Marines board member William J. Walker honored as ‘Man of the Year'
Thursday, May 2, 2019
 
Major General William J. Walker, a member of the Board of Directors of the Young Marines, was honored as “Leo High School Alumni Association’s Man of the Year” for 2019.
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Young Marines Announces $2.2M in Scholarships at Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security for Young Marines Alumni
Thursday, March 14, 2019
 
Any young adult who was in the Young Marines or a veteran volunteer who has a bachelor’s degree can apply for one of the 40 full-time scholarships being offered from the DMGS.
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Young Marines Proudly Join America Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program
Thursday, March 7, 2019
 
The Young Marines is a member of The United States of America Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program, designed to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans and their families for their service, valor, and sacrifice.
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Young Marines names ‘Division Young Marines of the Year’
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
 
The Young Marines has named six winners of one of its most prestigious awards - the “Division Young Marine of the Year.” The winners will vie for the title of “National Young Marine of the Year” at the Adult Leaders Conference in May.
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Young Marines in Hawaii for Pearl Harbor Remembrance
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
 
Young Marines participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and led the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Hawaii.
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Young Marines raises money to ‘Strengthen the Lives of America’s Youth’ at annual golf tournament
Thursday, October 25, 2018
 
The Young Marines raised $45,000 at its annual golf tournament held September 24, at the Medal of Honor Golf Course at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
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Two Young Marines Awarded Jimmy Trimble Scholarships
Monday, October 1, 2018
 
Young Marines SgtMaj Tyson Henry, of East Valley Young Marines, and Young Marines MGySgt William J. Daniels, Quartz Hill Young Marines were selected to receive Jimmy Trimble Scholarships from the American Veterans Center.
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SELECTED ARTICLE
Young Marines Honor Navajo Code Talkers
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
 

Young Marines perform a wreath laying for Navajo Code Talkers Day in 2018More than 100 Young Marines from across the country traveled to Window Rock, Arizona, for the annual National Navajo Code Talkers Day on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. The event recognizes the Navajo men who joined the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II as communication specialists and developed an unbreakable code using their native language.

Members of the Young Marines, a national youth organization, began attending Navajo Code Talkers Day in 2006. To date, more than 1,500 Young Marines have experienced the event. The Young Marines are asked to share their unique experience with their history classes, which means that thousands of kids who might not have otherwise known about the Code Talkers will be touched by their participation.

"The Young Marines have become important participants in this special day,” said Brenda McNulty, Young Marines’ organizer of the event. “The Navajo veterans are more than just WWII heroes. They are dear friends to the Young Marines. Our partnership with the Code Talkers and their descendants has strengthened year after year.”

While onsite for three days, the Young Marines did community service by cleaning and weeding the Navajo Nation Zoo, and cleaning graffiti off the red rocks on Window Rock peak. On Navajo Code Talkers Day, the Young Marines escort the Navajo veterans, march in the parade, and perform a wreath laying ceremony.

“The Young Marines are assuring the legacy of these very special veterans,” said Bill Davis, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines. “They will not be forgotten. In addition, we are very grateful to the Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation for continuing to support this event and include the Young Marines in honoring these heroes of WWII.”

Looking back

The Navajo Code Talkers were an important reason the Allies succeeded in the Pacific arena during World War II. In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members. As of 1945, 540 Navajos served as Marines, 420 as code talkers. The Navajo soldiers’ unbreakable code saved thousands of lives and helped end WWII.

The Navajo Code Talkers may have been World War II heroes, but the public didn’t realize it, because the code remained a top military secret for decades following the war.

In July, 1982, some 37 years after the Japanese surrender, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation that read (in part):  "Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate August 14, 1982, as National Navajo Code Talkers Day, a day dedicated to all members of the Navajo Nation and to all Native Americans who gave of their special talents and their lives so that others might live. I ask the American people to join me in this tribute, and I call upon federal, state and local officials to commemorate this day with appropriate activities.”

The brave soldiers' contributions became better known with the release of the 2002 movie, “Windtalkers,” starring Nicolas Cage. Although the movie received mixed reviews, it exposed the public to World War II’s Native American heroes. 

Japanese intelligence experts broke every code the U.S. forces devised. They were able to anticipate American actions at an alarming rate. With plenty of fluent English speakers at their disposal, they sabotaged messages and issued false commands in order to ambush Allied troops.

To combat this, World War I veteran Philip Johnston suggested that the U.S. military develop a code based on the Navajo language which was unwritten. The son of a missionary to the Navajos, Johnston was one of the few non-Navajos who spoke their language fluently. He had been brought up on a Navajo reservation, and he knew that many Navajo words have different meanings depending on context. Once he demonstrated to the Marine Corps how effective a Navajo-based code would be in thwarting intelligence breaches, the Marines signed up Navajos as radio operators.

In 1942, 29 Navajos ranging in age from 15 to 35, created the first U.S. military code based on their indigenous language. It started with a vocabulary of 200 terms but tripled in quantity by the time World War II ended. 

The Navajo code talkers could pass messages in as little as 20 seconds. The code was so complex that not even native Navajo speakers could comprehend it. The code also proved unique, because the Navajo soldiers weren’t allowed to write it down once they were on frontlines of the war. Everything was memorized.

During the first two days of the Battle of Iwo Jima, the code talkers transmitted 800 messages with no mistakes. Their efforts played a key role in the U.S. emerging victoriously from the Battle of Iwo Jima as well as the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa.

About the Young Marines

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c (3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to 270 units with 9,000 youth and 2,600 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Japan, and affiliates in other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at: https://www.YoungMarines.com

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Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
arichardson@gr-pr.com or 630-789-8899