Code Talkers

Code Talker

Dakota Code Talker

P.F.C. John, Walter C.

302ND Recon Troops

1st Cavalry Division

WWII – South Pacific


On behalf of my Brothers and me, (Walter E. John); Brother Mike, put together this information about one of Our Fathers: Pfc Walter Charles John, (Our Dad) personal information. To tell all our Fathers story, they did for all our native relatives, and the Americans.

Walter C. John was born February 4, 1920, in Santee, Nebraska. He was an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska.

His parents were Mr. & Mrs. Charles and Esther (Wolf) John.

His Dakota name: “Hok si da Shug Ya Mani” (Walking Strong Boy) and also known as “Cody”.

He was the oldest of six children, three brothers: Homer, Phillip, and Gerald. He had two sisters: Julia (John) Goodteacher, and Clara (John) Denney.

He had attended Marty Mission Indian School, Marty, South Dakota.

Friday 3 Code Talkers At mothers house in Niobrara, NE
At mother’s house in Niobrara, NE

Cody & Sons + 2

Our father had entered the U.S. Army, on October 15, 1941, and was honorably discharged December 7, 1945. He spent 1 year, 7 months and 26 days stateside and had done 2 years, 5 months, and 27 days in Foreign Services.

His battles and campaigns were on the islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Guinea and the Southern Philippines.

Decorations and citations: American Defense Service Medal, American Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Cir 136 WD 45, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Asiatic Pacific Service Medal.

While being stateside he, was in training to be a radio operator, with other Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota native soldiers. (L.D.N.’s) they spoke their native “dialects” (languages) which were understood by each native soldier in the unit. The language became the U.S.Army secret advantage towards ending the war. Their language was used as the code: a system of symbols (as in communication with special meanings) Webster Dictionary. Their training started in Fort Hood, and Fort Bliss. In “History Books of the U.S. Army” it states that their language was a code to confuse the Japanese Army.

The Army outfit of Code Talkers was so secret that it was kept classified, until the 1970s, when it was declassified.

I and many others feel this was an unjust historical honor that was kept secret from their families, and their tribal nations. This piece of Army history would have brought honor to the “Code Talkers”, families, and tribal nations.

When our Father, was discharged, he returned to Sioux City, Iowa, and worked in the beef packing house industry.

He married Myrtle Lucy (Redwing) John, and had four sons. (Edmond, Walter E., Michael, Lonny) He later married Esther Hensley and in that family were three daughters: Ms. Yvonne Reinhart, Mrs. Agnes Blackhawk, and Mrs. Karen Warner, all of Winnebago, NE.

Our Father, had entered the Spirit world on December 24, 1998 at 78 years of age. He was buried with full military honors at Howe Creek Cemetery, on the Santee Reservation, in Nebraska.

On the last day of his funeral; the Santee Nation Veterans, named their new Veterans Post, after him. Because of the Honor brought to the Santee Nation of Nebraska.

Walter “Cody” John “Honor Guard – Isanti Dakota Akicita”

Also in his honor, his Grandsons, Relatives, and Friends, of the Drum group, “MATO PEJUTA”, had made a “Akicita – soldier song, for all the Code Talkers, in his unit,-“302nd Recon. 1st Cavalry WWII, South Pacific.

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Click to enlarge

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Lakota Code Talker
Phillip (Stoney) LaBlanc, b: Feb. 10, 1913 d: Jan 17, 1998 Cheyenne River Lakota Code Talker WWII 1942-1946 Served under General MacArthur with the 302nd Recon Squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division. He is pictured here showing his medals and honors. Phillip was half Lakota/half French, he came large family of thirteen children born to Oliver J.LaBlanc and Josephine Sees The Horses- LaBlanc (a Little Big Horn survivor) Phillip (Stoney. LaBlanc is buried at the National Cemetery for American Soldiers, Sturgis, South Dakota.
Lakota Code Talkers
The Lakota Code Talkers WWII served under General MacArthur, 302nd Recon Squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division. Pictured from left to right: John Bear King – Guy F. Rondell – Walter John – Baptise Pumpkin Seed – Phillip (Stoney) LaBlanc – Edmund St John
Eagle FlagRead more about the Lakota Code Talkers in: Raider by Charles W. Sasser.

Lakota Code Talkers Medal

Medal to honor Code Talkers of the

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

At a meeting held on June 21, 2012, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed candidate designs prepared by the United States Mint for four Code Talker Congressional Gold Medals. This represents the second set of four designs to be reviewed, following the review of designs for four other medals earlier this year.

In 2011, Navajo Code Talkers were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for their contributions during World War II. Under Public Law 110-420, an additional 22 tribes will be recognized for their contributions during World War I and World War II.

The gold medals shall be accepted and maintained by the Smithsonian Institution, which has been encouraged to create a standing exhibit for Native American code talkers or Native American veterans. Silver duplicate medals will be awarded to members (or their next of kin or other personal representative) of the recognized Native American tribes who served in the Armed Forces as a code talker. Finally, bronze duplicate medals are expected to be struck and sold to the public.

For more than 20 years after the end of World War II the exploits of more than 400 American Indians who used their native languages to confound the enemy were classified. It wasn’t until 1968, that the mission of the Code Talkers – the name for the Navajo and Sioux Indians who served as radio operators – was declassified.

The program’s concept was nothing short of ingenious. Radio broadcasts in English could be overheard by Japanese and Germans who knew the language. If the radio operators spoke a language unknown outside the U.S., such as an Indian language, the enemy wouldn’t be able to understand the messages. In 1942 the son of a missionary to the Navajo suggested that Navajo Indians be recruited as radio operators. The U.S. Marines used 420 Navajo in the Pacific Theater, and at least 11 Sioux served in the Army in both Europe and the Pacific. The Japanese and German armies were unable to decipher the Navajo and Lakota languages, which were virtually unknown outside the reservations.

Nearly 60 years after the program began, the Code Talkers are finally getting the public recognition that they deserve. The Lakota code talkers are: Charles Whitepipe, Iver Crow Eagle Sr. and Simon Brokenleg of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe; Clarence Wolfguts and Baptiste Pumpkinseed of the Oglala Sioux Tribe; Phillip “Stoney” LaBlanc and Eddie Eagle Boy of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; Edmund St. John of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe; Walter C. John of the Santee Sioux Tribe; Guy Rondell of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe; and John Bear King of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Hollywood has also taken an interest in the story of the Code Talkers, with the movie “Windtalkers,” starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach. The movie was timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Code Talkers.

It is poetic justice that the United States found a way to use its racial diversity to help defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, nations ruled by fanatic leaders who preached the inherent superiority of their own respective races.

The surviving Code Talkers are in their 70s and 80s now. Recognition of their unique contribution to defeating fascism was long overdue, and they well deserve the proposed Congressional Gold Medals, our nation’s highest civilian honor.

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