Window Rock, Ariz. — Navajo Code Talker Joe Hosteen Kellwood passed away Sept. 5. He was 95.
Kellwood served in WWII and was trained at the Navajo Code Talker’s School at Camp Elliott in San Diego, California. Kellwood received the Congressional Silver Medal for his service.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez said they felt great sadness at the news.
“Our Navajo Code Talkers are iconic and Private Joe Hosteen Kellwood was no exception,” Begaye said. “He, along with our other revered code talkers, was able to save our nation, our freedom and our lives by using the sacred Dine’bi’zaad. For this he will always be remembered and honored.”
Nez said the Navajo Code Talkers are a vital piece in the histories of both the United States and Native Americans. Beyond bullets and bombs, the young Marines were able to save the Nation translating military code into the Navajo language.
“In our administration, both President Begaye and I have been able to work for the betterment of veteran’s services that are provided across our Nation,” Nez said. “The veteran’s pillar in our administration is founded in historical service of our Navajo Code Talkers. They deserve much more credit than they are given nationally. But here on the Navajo Nation, we hold them close and dearly. It’s a tragedy for us to lose even one.”
The Office of the President and Vice President called on the entire Navajo Nation to come together in prayer in honor of the service of Kellwood. The Office sent condolences to Kellwood’s family and those he left behind.
The Memorial Service for Marine Code Talker Joe Kellwood was held Sep. 8. at Hansen Mortuary in. Phoenix. After the viewing and service there was a grave side service at the National Veterans Cemetery. The VFW Post 9400 conducted a Celebration of Life at the Post Hall.