World War II Navajo Code Talker Keith Little dies at age 87

Navajo Code Talker Keith Little, during a panel discussion held as part of dedication ceremonies for the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in May, 2004.


By Published: January 4, 2012

Keith Little, who joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and became one of the famed Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, died Tuesday at an Arizona hospital. He was 87.

Little, the longtime president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, spent his last years touring the country to gain support and funding for a museum honoring the men whose use of the Navajo language in radio transmissions confounded the Japanese during the war in the Pacific.

"My motivation was to fight the enemy with a gun or whatever," Little told The Associated Press in a July 2009 interview. "When I went into the Marine Corps ... I knew nothing about the Navajo code. It was really astonishing to me to get to Camp Pendleton and there were a bunch of Navajos there, and they were working with a Navajo code."

The Associated Press story about Keith Little.

Navajo Code Talkers Keith Little, left, and Sam Billison take part in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., in May, 2004. Billison passed away in November, 2004 and Little in January, 2012.

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