Navajo Code Talker remembered as great warrior, family man

New Mexico

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — One of the few remaining Navajo Code Talkers who used their native language to confound the Japanese in World War II has died.

The family of Joe Vandever Sr. says he died Friday of health complications in Haystack, New Mexico, west of Grants.

He was 96.

Tribal leaders called Vandever a great warrior and a compassionate family man, and asked Navajos to keep his spirit and his family in their prayers.

Vandever was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the U.S. Marine Corps transmitting messages using a code based on the Navajo language. It was never broken.

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