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Charles Chibitty, 83; Comanche Code Talker for Allies During War

PASSINGS

July 24, 2005|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Charles Chibitty, 83, the last known survivor of the Comanche "code talkers" who used their native language to transmit messages for the Allies in Europe during World War II, died Wednesday at a nursing home in Tulsa, Okla. The cause of death was not announced.

Chibitty was part of the group of Comanche Indians from Oklahoma who were selected for special duty in the Army to provide the Allies with a language that the Germans could not decipher. Like the larger group of Navajo Indians who performed a similar service in the Pacific theater, the Comanches were dubbed code talkers.

"It's strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden to speak my native language at school," Chibitty said in 2002. "Later, my country asked me to. My language helped win the war, and that makes me very proud. Very proud."

Chibitty was born Nov. 20, 1921, near Medicine Park, Okla., and attended high school at Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kan. He enlisted in 1941.

In 1999, Chibitty received the Knowlton Award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding intelligence work.

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