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Congress celebrates ‘code talkers’: Thirty-three tribes receive medals for help during wars

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WASHINGTON — U.S. military commanders had a big problem during World War II, when the Japanese routinely broke their codes, making it easy to predict the actions of American troops.

Commanders brought in 29 Navajo “code talkers” — a group made up of farmers and sheepherders from the ages of 15 to 35 — who went to Camp Pendleton in California in 1942 and used their language to create a code that the enemy could never figure out: Turtle meant tank, chicken hawk meant dive bomber and Wo-La-Chee represented the letter “A.”

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