Navajo Nation mourns passing of Code Talker

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) April 2010

George Chavez Sr., a member of the Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, has died. He was 85.

Navajo Nation officials said last week that Chavez, who lived in Farmington, N.M., died Sunday. Details were not immediately released.

Tribal President Joe Shirley Jr. ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from April 22-25 in honor of Chavez, who is at least the six Code Talker to die since last May.

Chavez, who was born in Nageezi, N.M., joined the Marines in May 1943 at age 18. He served with the 4th Marine Division, 25th Regiment, as a radio telephone operator until November 1945.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ernestine; eight children, two stepchildren, 34 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.

Chavez’s funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. April 29 at the Farmington Civic Center.

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