Thursday, March 15, 2012

Comanche National Museum to honor Code Talkers

The Comanche National Museum in Lawton will feature a terrific exhibit later this year highlighting the contribution of Comanche Code Talkers in World War II. Seventeen members of the Comanche Nation served as Code Talkers. They were fluent in the Comanche language and used that knowledge, along with the training they were given by the Army, to send critical messages that confused the enemy during World War II. They were recruited from Cache, Cement, Cyril, Fletcher, Indiahoma, Lawton and Walters.

The Code Talkers: Front Row, left to right: Roderick “Dick” Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Larry Saupitty, Melvin Permansu, Willie Yackeschi, 
Charles Chibitty and Willington Mihecoby.  Back Row, left to right: Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyebad, Ralph Wahnee, Haddon Codynah, 
Robert Holder, Albert Nahquaddy, Clifford Ototivo and Forrest Kassanavoid.  (not pictured: Elgin Red Elk and Anthony Tabbitite)

Here is a great description of the Code Talkers on their induction in the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in November 2011:
The Comanche Nation Code Talkers served in the U. S. Army 4th Signal Company, 4th Infantry Division during World War II; they used their Comanche language, which the United States Government once had forbidden them to use, in radio transmissions that helped save the lives of thousands of Allied Soldiers. They served in combat from the D-Day, June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy to the end of the World War II in Europe in May 1945. The 14 Comanche Code Talkers who served in the European Theater of Operations and are now deceased, were: Charles Joyce Chibitty; Haddon “Red” Codynah; Robert Holder; Forrest Kassanavoid;  Wellington “Mike” Mihecoby; Perry “Taxi” Noyobad; Clifford Ototivo, Sr.; Simmons Parker;  Melvin Permansu; Elgin Red Elk; Roderick Red Elk; Larry W. Saupitty; Morris “Sunrise” Tabbyyetchy, and Willis Wood Yackeschi. Two other Code Talkers did not serve overseas and one was sent back to the United States from England for medical reasons; Four Comanches served as Code Talkers during World War I with the 357th Infantry Regiment. In 2001, the U.S. Congress awarded the 14 Comanche Code Talkers of World War II and four Comanche Code Talkers of World War I the Congressional Gold Medal for their military service. The Code Talkers of World War II were awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Campaign Service Stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Knight of the Order of National Merit from the French Government.  Perry “Taxi” Noyobad was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart; Forrest Kassanavoid, Larry W. Saupitty, Willis Wood Yackeschi, and Roderick Red Elk were awarded the Purple Heart during the Korea War. Melvin Permansu and Roderick Red Elk received the Korean War Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal. In 1995 Charles Joyce Chibitty, then 78, was honored as the last surviving World War II Comanche U.S. Army Code Talker in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.
Finally, here's a short news report from KSWO in Lawton about the upcoming exhibit: 

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