WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Code Talkers King Fowler and Milton M. Gishal both passed away in June.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly ordered the Navajo Nation flag to fly at half-staff from sunrise June 14 through sundown June 18.
"It's a sad week for our Navajo people knowing that we lost two more of our modern day heroes," Shelly said. "The Navajo Nation's prayers and condolences are with both families. Our Navajo Code Talkers are the sources of great pride for our people. There is a certain pride that our Code Talkers created because they used our language to defeat the Japanese in World War II. We will forever be indebted to the services of our Navajo Code Talkers."
Fowler passed away on June 7 at his home in Tonalea, Ariz. He was born on Dec. 12, 1915 in Kaibeto, Ariz. He enlisted with the U.S. Marines on Oct. 27, 1944. After his honorable discharge, he assisted his Tonalea community as a public servant by holding positions in various community organizations and programs. He was preceded in death by his wife Betty S. Fowler and is survived by his son Bobby Fowler Sr. of Tonelea; Dylon Jacob Fowler, grandson; eight grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Gishal passed away June 8. He was from the Beshbito and Jeddito areas of the Navajo Nation.
Fewer than 60 Navajo Code Talkers are estimated to still be alive. Of the original Code Talkers, Chester Nez is the only one still alive.
Navajo Code Talkers served in the U.S. Marines in World War II in the Pacific Theater. The Navajo language, which some linguists says is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn, was encoded and used to communicate during battles. The Marines used the Navajo code in every major engagement in the Pacific Theater from 1942 through 1945.
"If it wasn't for our language and our Code Talkers, we might not be here right now. Our people have provided a great service to the people of the United States. We are proud of them," Shelly said.
The Navajo Code Talkers Foundation is raising money to build a museum. More information is available at www.navajocodetalkers.org.