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Recognizing the Plight and Valor of World War II's Navajo Code Talkers

November 25, 2001

In your richly photo-documented article on the heroic Navajos of World War II, an essential element of the story was missing ("A Time for Heroes," by Beverly Beyette, Oct. 28). It should be pointed out that faith-based charities provided them with an education, with the eradication of their Navajo language being a high priority. In sanitizing the story, you neglected to point out its most important lesson.

Ed Boswell

Long Beach

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The courageous contribution of the Navajo code talkers to the war effort is unquestionable. Although the story of their distinguished service was not declassified until 1968, the use of the Navajo code was reported immediately after the war. For example, there is a New York Times story of Sept. 19, 1945, with the headline, "Navajo Code Talk Kept Foe Guessing." And there is a discussion in Samuel Eliot Morison's official history of the U.S. Navy in World War II, which was published in 1953, and in the Marine Corps' account of the Iwo Jima campaign, which appeared in 1954.

Henry D. Fetter

Los Angeles

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