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.
At mother’s house in Niobrara, NE
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.
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
Read more about the Lakota Code Talkers in: Raider by Charles W. Sasser.
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.