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The Navajo Code Talkers

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Excerpts from Doris A. Paul, The Navajo Code Talkers (Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., 1973), 170 pages:

During World War II, Indians of many tribes spoke across enemy lines in Africa, Sicily and the South Pacific – Comanche, Creek, Choctaw, Menominee, Chippewa, and Hopi. But in each case the Indians were speaking in their own tongue – not in code.

Credit for the concept of the use of a code based on the Navajo language and the presentation of the idea to the Marines goes to a man named Philip Johnston, an engineer for the city of Los Angeles at the outbreak of the war. Mr. Johnston had spent the major part of his life on the reservation and spoke the language fluently. [p. 7]

Mr. Johnston says, “The code talkers presented a phenomenal feat of memory, and I don’t know to this day how they could react so quickly to those substitute words in Navajo in a fraction of a second. To arrive at this proficiency, they had to study long hours – day and night.” He reported that the drill continued over portable radios in the field day after day and “deft fingers trained in rapid legible printing recorded those messages.” Washington officials never ceased to be amazed at the dispatches that materialized from a “weird succession of guttural, nasal, tongue-twisting sounds.” [p. 45]

One code talker recently commented, “When we were recruited, we knew only that we were to be specialists of some kind, but did not know we would have anything to do with the setting up of the code. When we got to camp we thought we were in a penitentiary, after the free life on the reservation. We had to wear a shabby arrangement of dungarees. Training was grueling out in the hot sun in San Diego. [p.15]

Navajo Code Talkers

One of the code-talker recruits relates one of his experiences at boot camp that completely changed his whole life in service. At one time during training, he felt he could not stand the stress any longer and finally “went over the hill.” He started back to the reservation and had been absent from camp three days when he decided he had made a grave mistake. He turned back to “face the music.” Not far from camp, a busload of WAVEs stopped and picked him up. When they asked him when he had to be back in camp, the told them there was really no hurry. So he spent his last day of freedom with a busload of good-looking girls. The bus rolled up to the gate and was given the O.K. sign to enter. The Navajo flashed his identification and with no questions asked, he rolled right into camp with the WAVEs.

Eventually, of course, he was brought up before the officers who demanded to know where he had been, how he had gotten back into camp, etc. He admitted that he had gone AWOL and told the truth as to how he got back in. They wouldn’t believe him and asked him to come up with a better story than this – this one they couldn’t believe. After insisting that he had told them God’s truth, he realized that they would never believe him. So he fabricated the story that he had watched the guards and when they weren’t looking, he had sneaked in under the fence. This the officers believed. [pp. 17-18]

A white Marine relates a dramatic story concerning the service rendered by the code talkers. It was on Saipan where his battalion occupied a position on the division’s extreme left. One night the enemy retreated to a new line several hundred yards to the rear, and a few hours later, the Marines advanced to the old positions previously held by the Japanese, when a salvo exploded nearby. They radioed headquarters, reminding them that Americans now held this position, but another salvo came later. It was then that they “knew the score.” Headquarters did not believe them. And why should they? The Japanese had imitated American broadcasts many times before. Again they were showered with mud from a salvo that came even closer. And they heard the question from headquarters: “Do you have a Navajo?” The Marine says he will never forget the message that was sent by the single Navajo in the battalion, although he couldn’t understand a word of it. A few minutes later he and his comrades saw a cloud of smoke rising from the Japanese positions. They had been saved from being “clobbered” by their own artillery – by that Navajo message. [p.66]

Major Howard M. Conner, in commenting on the gallantry of the code talkers, said, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima!” [p. 73].

Excerpt from “Navajo Code Talkers: World War II Fact Sheet,” Naval History & Heritage Command, at http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq61-2.htm (retrieved: 10 March 2014).

At Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, declared, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.” Connor had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. Those six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error.

The Japanese, who were skilled code breakers, remained baffled by the Navajo language. The Japanese chief of intelligence, Lieutenant General Seizo Arisue, said that while they were able to decipher the codes used by the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps, they never cracked the code used by the Marines. The Navajo code talkers even stymied a Navajo soldier taken prisoner at Bataan. (About 20 Navajos served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines.) The Navajo soldier, forced to listen to the jumbled words of talker transmissions, said to a code talker after the war, “I never figured out what you guys who got me into all that trouble were saying.”

In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members. As of 1945, about 540 Navajos served as Marines. From 375 to 420 of those trained as code talkers; the rest served in other capacities.

See also

Navajo Code Talkers at Youtube.com (retrieved: 10 March 2014).

Station S at SkewsMe.com (retrieved: 10 March 2014).

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life world

Lost on Gilligan’s Isle

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…a movie star, and the rest… (season 1)

Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore
Of this uncharted desert isle
With Gilligan,
The Skipper too.
The millionaire
And his wife,
The movie star,
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

(Ending verse)

So this is the tale of our castaways,
They’re here for a long long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
It’s an uphill climb.

The first mate and his Skipper too
Will do their very best,
To make the others comf’terble
In their tropic island nest.

No phone, no lights, no motor car,
Not a single luxury
Like Robinson Crusoe
It’s primitive as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
You’re sure to get a smile,
From seven stranded castaways
Here on Gilligan’s Isle!

…the movie star, the Professor, and Mary Ann…

Rescue From Gilligan’s Island – Full Movie

Unaired pilot intro

Lost: The Sitcom! Season 1 intro

Lost: The Sitcom! Season 2 intro

Lost: The Sitcom! Season 3 intro

Lost: The Teen Drama. Season 4 intro

Lost: The Sitcom! Season 5 intro

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The Healing Purr

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“Pet therapy is apparently gaining momentum in many medical communities,” writes Micaela Lacy for Daily Infographic.1

“According to a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute that followed more than 4,000 cat owners over 10 years, owning a cat can dramatically reduce a person’s chance of dying from heart disease [source: Mundell],” notes Jane McGrath for Animal Planet. “Specifically, people who owned cats were 30 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.” 2

The purring.org website “aims at summarizing what is currently known about (mostly) felid purring, i.e. the ‘trademark’ sound produced by most species of cats, only excluding four or five of the biggest cats, the so-called ‘roaring’ cats (lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard)”:

The term ‘purring’ has been used liberally in the mammal vocalization literature, and an exhaustive review is given in Peters (2002). Using a definition of purring that continuous sound production must alternate between pulmonic egressive and ingressive airstream (and usually go on for minutes), Peters (2002) reached the conclusion that until then only ‘purring cats’ (Felidae) and two species of genets (Viverridae sensu stricto), Genetta tigrina, and most likely also Genetta genetta, had been documented to purr.…

Below you find the observed frequency range[] of the…purring domestic cat described in Eklund, Peters & Duthie (2010), mapped onto an extended piano keyboard (the greyish octave to the left does not exist on modern pianos, but is added to the keyboard). The green colour indicates the frequency range of the purring, and the completely coloured key represents the mean value of the purring.3

domestic cat frequency range piano keyboard

“There is extensive documentation that suggests that low frequencies, at low intensity, are therapeutic,” reports the leaf lady.

Researchers believe that self-healing is the survival mechanism behind the purr.… These frequencies can aid bone growth, fracture healing, pain relief, tendon and muscle strength and repair, joint mobility, the reduction of swelling, and the relief of dyspnea, or breathlessness.

[Cats have] “purr frequencies between 20 Hz and 200 Hz. With the exception of the cheetah, which had frequencies ± 2 Hz from the rest, all the species had frequencies, notably 25 Hz, 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 125 Hz, and 150 Hz, that correspond exactly with the best frequencies determined by the most recent research for bone growth, fracture healing, pain relief, relief of breathlessness, and inflammation. All of the cats’ purrs, including the cheetah, had frequencies ±4 Hz from the entire repertoire of low frequencies known to be therapeutic for all of the ailments.…

cat purring waveform

Frequencies of 25 and 50 Hz are the best, and 100 Hz and 200 Hz the second best frequencies for promoting bone strength. Exposure to these signals elevates bone strength by approximately 30%, and increases the speed at which the fractures heal.4

“Vets, researchers, rescuers and owners have reported hearing cats purr continuously when they are distressed, chronically ill, in severe pain or when dying,” writes the MessyBeast.com cat website:

Female cats may purr while giving birth.…

Because the purr is linked to the release of endorphins in the brain, which are the body’s own pain-killers, the purr may be a side-effect.5


Sources

1 Micaela Lacy, “The Healing Power of Cat Purrs [infographic],” 21 July 2013, at http://dailyinfographic.com/the-healing-power-of-cat-purrs-infographic (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

2 Jane McGrath, “Can owning a pet help you live longer?” Animal Planet, at http://animal.discovery.com/pets/live-longer-with-a-pet.htm (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

3 Robert Eklund, PhD, MA, BA, Purring.org, at http://purring.org/ (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

4 “Bone-healing/Restorative ‘Purring Frequencies’,” theleaflady.org, at http://www.leaflady.org/purr.htm (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

5 “Cat Communication: The Purr,” MessyBeast.com, at http://www.messybeast.com/cat_talk3.htm (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

See also

Kevin J. Crosby, “Battle Cat”, SkewsMe.com, at http://skewsme.com/blog/2013/01/battle-cat/ (retrieved: 25 January 2014).

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