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As 'Code Talkers' Dwindle To Precious Few, Navajo Nation Marks Veterans Day

On the day that we praise the valor of our veterans, we continue to lose many in the so-called "Greatest Generation," those who fought in World War II.

And that includes the many Native Americans who served, including the famous Navajo Code Talkers.

They were the bilingual branch of the U.S. Marines recruited specially to use their native Diné tongue to develop a code to baffle and outsmart the Japanese in the South Pacific. It worked so well that many believe it may have the key to an American victory.

Unfortunately, the Navajo Nation reported this week that another code talker has died.

George Paul James passed away in New Mexico on Wednesday. Tribal officials said James died at an Albuquerque hospital at age 92.

Of the more than 400 original Code Talkers, there are now only a handful left.

Michael Smith is a U.S. Marine veteran who serves as a clerk for the Navajo Supreme Court. His father Samuel "Jesse" Smith was one of the talkers. He spoke about how these heroic Native Americans are being remembered on this Veterans Day.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.