I received a letter from an Indian who did not give his name. He got my address from the son of “the Chief”, the Indian whom I found to be a code talker living in the barracks where I was barracks chief at Lackland Field, San Antonio, Tex., in 1948. I could not talk about the code talker while it was top secret.
He told me that he and the Chief were from the same tribe and joined the military together. They also were trained as code talkers at the same school.
After their training, they were separated. He never saw him again until they were discharged. He said the Chief did not live to see the day when the code talkers were no longer top secret.
I was told that tens of thousands of Native Americans joined the U.S. armed forces during World War I and World War II. Forty four thousand Native Americans served in World War II. The entire population of Native Americans was less than 350,000 at the time.
The Chief’s son never got in touch with me again after I told him all I knew about his dad.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.