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Navajo Code Talkers

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April 10, 2012
“Navajo” Code Talkers - Research Paper
Navajo Code Talkers
During War World II, the United States needed a secure and immediate way to transmit messages and communicate by telephone and radio in a code that could not be broken by the Japanese. Cryptography is the science or study of writing or solving codes; which made this war effort difficult to accomplish. America succeeded this goal with a code that was not based on any type of science, mathematics, or substitutions, but on a language. This system of massaging and communication was known as the Navajo code and was the most sufficient, secure, and fastest to date.

Philip Johnston was the man behind the idea of using the Navajo language as a communication code. He learned the Navajo language because he was around it for 24 years and became one of few non-Navajo people able to speak the language fluently. Philip Johnston served in War World I and knew how important it was to have a secure source of communication during wartime. He then realized how this language could be used as a code within itself by using words such as bird and turtle to replace military terms like plane and tank. Johnston presented to Colonel James E. Jones, this idea of a secure verbal communication code. A demonstration of the Navajo code was then presented to General Vogel and Colonel Wethered Woodward. In this demonstration four Navajos were given combat messages which they had to transmit to one another and translate the message from English to Navajo and back to English. The Navajos were able to encode, transmit, and decode a three line message in English in under 20 seconds. If this task would have been performed in another method involving cipher machines it would have called for at least 30 minutes. This demonstration was an obvious success. Not long after the demonstration was preformed, the order to start recruiting Navajo men for this job was placed.

A recruitment office was opened at Window Rock, Arizona...