Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Native Americans who served as “Code Talkers”, were honored for their duty at conveying confidential information through their native languages during wartime. Alaska’s Tlingit “Killer Whale Clan” was one of 33 tribes to be recognized with the award.
The code talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for their contributions to World Wars I and II.
Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma was one of the dignitaries who paid tribute to what he called “America’s Best Kept Secret” of the wars…
Sen. Inhofe: “The very secretive nature of the Code Talkers contribution, you can’t really say how many but we do know that many, many, many lives were saved by these American heroes so we pay tribute to you today, we love you, we’ll always love you and remember you.”
Commander William “Ozzie” Sheakley received the medals on behalf of the Tlingit tribe. Tribal leader Bill Thomas and Jeff David Jr., a descendant of one of the Tlingit code talkers, were also present.
The ceremony is a result of the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008. The gold medals will be housed at the Smithsonian Institution. Duplicate silver medals were presented to about 200 code talkers and their families during the ceremony.