Flags Lowered on Reservation for Navajo Code Talker

In this file photo taken June 23, 2011, Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez, the last of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers, holds a photo of himself (1951 or 1952) in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP photo)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Flags were lowered Wednesday on the Navajo Nation in honor of a man who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.

Bill Henry Toledo died May 5 in Grants, New Mexico. The 92-year-old was one of hundreds of Navajos recruited from the reservation and trained as Code Talkers.

Navajo President Russell Begaye ordered flags flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

Toledo never told his family of his role as a Marine in the war. They found out when looking over his honorary discharge papers in 1972.

Toledo served in the Pacific corridor and spent three years transmitting messages based on the Navajo language.

He later became active in the Navajo Code Talkers Association.

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