According to an article posted today on the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s website, a group of WWII veterans from the now-famous “Code Talkers” unit were honored last Saturday over dinner at Tomasso Restaurant (1464 86th Street at Bay 8th Street).
The five elderly American Indian men, who hail from the Navajo Nation in the Southwestern United States, were being hosted for a Veteran’s Day weekend in New York by executives and employees from Nation One Trading International – a stock brokerage started by Native-Americans.
The so-called “Navajo Code Talkers”, originally a group of 29 men, created and successfully used an undecipherable code language patterned after Navajo to confuse the Japanese military, helping to win the war.
From the Eagle:
The U.S. military desperately needed the expertise of the Code Talkers. In the early months of the war, the Japanese cracked nearly every code the U.S. devised, according to the web site www.navajocodetalkers.org. As a result, the Japanese could sabotage the messages the U.S. troops sent out. In many instances, the Japanese would send out fake reports to which the U.S. troops would respond. The U.S. troops would then be ambushed. The key to developing a code that the enemy couldn’t penetrate was to have the words originate from a language with which the Japanese were not familiar.
Although their ciphering saved countless American lives during the war, their top secret achievement was not officially recognized by the U.S. government until decades later.
The group’s exploits gained further notoriety in 2002, when Windtalkers, a major motion picture directed by John Woo, was released. However, the film was widely criticized for not featuring its Navajo characters in starring roles – focusing the story instead on a white sergeant played by Nicholas Cage.
Patrick Forbes, a manager at Native One, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the firm seeks to get more young Native-Americans interested in financial careers.
“We’re hoping more Native-American kids are interested in business,” he said