Code Talker Jimmy Lee Benally dies

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly announced last week that flags be flown at half-staff Sept. 27-30, to honor the late Navajo Code Talker and U.S. Marine Private First Class Jimmy Lee Benally of Teec Nos Pos, Ariz. Benally passed away from natural causes on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at his home in Barstow, Calif., while surrounded by loved ones.

"The Navajo Nation salutes PFC Jimmy Benally, a Code Talker who transmitted unbreakable linguistic codes on the battlefield," said President Shelly. "To his family and friends, our condolences and prayers go out to you."

Benally served in the U.S Marine Corp from 1943 to 1945. He partook in operations against enemy forces on Marshall Islands in 1944 and in Iwo Jima in 1945. After he was honorably discharged on Nov. 28, 1945, his Major, King Moss, recognized his services as excellent. Among other marks were recognitions for presidential unit citation and a certificate of satisfactory service.

His funeral service was held Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011 at 9 a.m. in the Teec Nos Pos Christian Reform Church. He was honored with a 21-gun salute. Benally was 86-years-old.

He moved to Barstow after leaving the Marine Corp. There, he found a job and met his wife Inez R. Benally and later started a family. Benally retired from the workforce as a Labor Foreman for Santa Fe Railroad and as a Lumber Yard Forklift Operator for Hayward Lumber Yard. Later, the hard working PFC would return to the workforce as a part time employee of Valley Lumber.

A true family man, Benally loved to participate in family events that encouraged a solid foundation and teamwork. He leaves behind his two daughters, three sons, eight grandchildren, one brother and five sisters.

Benally lost his parents, Capitan and Eloise Benally and two brothers Harrison and Harry Benally, before his death. He was laid to rest next to his parents at Teec Nos Pos Cemetery.

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