Exhibit | Aug. 4, 2021

World War 2: Native American Code Talkers

This exhibit displays the critical work of Native American Code Talkers during World War I and World War II. Having suffered losses in the First World War as a result of the Germans listening to U.S. communications, a company commander of the U.S. Army's 142nd Infantry Regiment found a solution. Captain Lawrence overheard two Choctaws speaking in their own language. He arranged for them to become radio communicators. They used common words to replace military terms and spoke Choctaw, thus becoming the first Code Talkers. On October 26, 1918, in northern France's Argonne Forest, the Choctaws' communications resulted in a completely successful surprise attack against the Germans. The Army continued the program and during World War II recruited Comanches, Choctaws, Kiowas, Winnebagos, Seminoles, Navajos, Hopis, Cherokees, and others. The Marine Corps took the Army work and codified, expanded, refined, and perfected it into a true security discipline, using Navajos exclusively.