Who he is:
Navajo Code Talker in World War II
Where you’ve heard of him:
History class; the unfortunate film, Windtalkers
You might not know Allen Dale June by name, but you’ve heard of what he’s done. June, one of the original Navajo Code Talkers, died today in Prescott, Arizona, at the age of 91.
June, and twenty-eight others, created the Navajo code that was used in the Pacific battles during World War II. The code was used to transmit information about Japanese troops and other pressing battlefield issues in every Pacific encounter from 1942 to 1945.
The Code Talkers never really got the credit they deserved. Even Windtalkers—a movie about the Code Talkers—somehow managed to sell them short. Thanks, Nicolas Cage.
Navajo was unwritten and grammatically complex. The original twenty-nine developed it into a simple, yet undecipherable code that proved vital in the fight against Japan. Hundreds of Navajo soldiers used the code that June helped to create. We might be speaking German if it wasn’t for these guys.
June attained the rank of sergeant and earned the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001. According to his wife, June didn’t like to brag about his involvement in the war but always wore his red Code Talkers hat. He leaves behind a wife and ten children.