Veterans who 'gave' their language
By John Wilson
Even some code talkers dispute that claim--though there's no question their role was key. Navajo Marines coded more than 800 messages in the first two days of the battle alone.
Code talker Bill Toledo remembers his battalion commander at Iwo Jima waiting more than an hour to transmit a routine advance-and-report order to a forward company while the message was being encrypted by traditional means--eventually abandoning the effort. Then-Pfc. Toledo, speaking with a code talker at the advance position, transmitted the message in minutes.
As it was, more than 20,000 Japanese troops mounted a ferocious, 36-day defense of the island, using a network of tunnels to frustrate Marine advances.
Clearly, the rapid-but-secure communication that only the Navajo code could provide was crucial.
For more on the subject, see Mythologizing the Codetalkers and Congressional Medal for Codetalkers.
Below: "American heroes: Navajo 'code talkers' like brothers Preston and Frank Toledo played a key role in World War II."