To the end of his life, Chester Nez recalled the first message he sent over the radio while serving at Guadalcanal: “Enemy machine gun nest on your right. Destroy.”
Receiving the message, American forces eliminated the threat.
Mr. Nez, a former United States Marine who died on Wednesday at 93, had sent the message not in English but rather in a code he had helped create. It originally went much like this: “Anaai (Enemy) naatsosi (Japanese) beeldooh alhaa dildoni (machine gun) nishnaajigo nahdikadgo (on your right flank). Diiltaah (Destroy).”
The code was fashioned from Navajo, the language that Mr. Nez grew up speaking, was later barred from speaking and still later helped craft into a military code so impervious that it helped the United States secure victory in the Pacific in the summer of 1945.
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