Posts Tagged ‘World War II’


Whose passing am I noting?

June 11, 2014

code talker1

Last Of The Original World War II ‘Code Talkers’ Passes On

Chester Nez (Navajo), 93, helped create a code the Japanese couldn’t break.

Chester Nez, the last of the original group of U.S. Marine Code Talkers, died Wednesday of kidney failure, according to various sources.

Nez, 93, was the author of Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII and the inspiration for the 2002 film Windtalkers, starring Adam Beach and Nicholas Cage.

Nez was recruited in the spring of 1942 by the U.S. Marines, who came to Arizona recruiting Navajo speakers for a top-secret mission: develop a code that the Japanese could not decipher. The Navajo language, with a difficult syntax and grammar that was difficult to understand compared to many other languages, provided the basis for a nearly unbreakable code which was instrumental during U.S. efforts in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

The language they created was made even more complicated by the ambiguous and sometimes ribald choices made by its Navajo creators, says the Washington Post:

As Nez explained in his memoir, “the Navajo word for ‘jackass’ — spelled tkele-cho-gi in our code phonetics, stood for the English letter J.”

The efforts behind the code’s creation and implementation were not fully recognized until 1968, when the nature of the operation was declassified and Nez and his fellow servicemen began to receive recognition for their service. The original 29 Navajo Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001, while other Code Talkers were awarded the Silver Medal.

“We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo code talkers,” the Marines said in a statement.

Credit:  Steven Phelps in Cowboys and Indians

More at

code talkers

Photo of a platoon of Navajo Code Talkers upon their graduation from Marine Corps recruit training in 1942

Chester Nez died on June 4, 2014 at his home near Albuquerque, NM.


What am I noting today?

June 6, 2014

A-large-number-of-German--001D-Day – June 6, 1944 – 70 years ago today

Click here for more interactive photos – shamelessly ripped borrowed from HMS Defiant.


What day am I talking about today?

August 14, 2012

V-J Day – August 14, 1945 – This is the day that the surrender of Japan took place effectively ending World War II.  Although the official surrender ceremony did not take place until September 2, of that year, when the surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri.  However, August 14, saw celebrations across the nation including Times Square where this famous photo was snapped by Alfred Eisenstaedt of Life Magazine.  Eisenstaedt’s photo captured the jubilance that accompanied the announcement of the end of the fighting.  Celebrations took place not only across the nation, but across the world among the Allies.  Below, American servicemen and women celebrate in Paris on the Champs Elysees.


What do we commemorate today?

June 6, 2012

Today marks the 68th anniversary of D-Day – the landing of Allied troops on the Normandy coast.

June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded — but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Quote and video from here.


What do we observe today?

May 22, 2012

May 22 is National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day is annually observed in the United States on May 22. It is a time to observe its maritime heritage, to honor those who served as merchant mariners, and to recognize the benefits of the maritime industry.

May 22 is the anniversary of the first transatlantic crossing under steam power by the Savannah in 1819.  National Maritime Day was created as a day of observance by Congress in 1933.  The contributions made by the US merchant marine ships and men are important throughout our history, but became particularly crucial during World War II, bringing supplies to our allies and playing an important role in bringing troops home.  Here is a short history of this day of observance.

Merchant Marine Liberty Ship


What am I viewing?

February 16, 2012

Color photos from the days immediately before and after Operation Overlord.  Thanks to Andrew for the reference.

After seeing photos from this era always in black and white, the color makes them seem so much more immediate.

See the rest of the collection here and here.