Code Talker George B. Willie
Published December 14, 2017
LEUPP, ARIZONA – A funeral service was held for Navajo Code Talker George B. Willie on Dec. 13 at the Presbyterian Church in Leupp, Ariz. After the service, Mr. Willie was escorted by the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders to be buried at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park at Camp Navajo in Bellemont, Ariz.
“The Navajo Nation is grateful for George B. Willie and for his family,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said. “With the dawn of the coming year, the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of 1868 is fast approaching. Our Code Talkers honored that agreement to help protect the United States and we continue to carry on their legacy to this day.”
The Navajo language was used during World War II to help military forces communicate with one another without intelligence being captured by enemy forces. While the Axis powers had skilled cryptanalysts, the Navajo Code was never broken.
Vice President Nez said the history of language is part of the reason for why it must be passed down to our younger generations.
Mr. Willie served from 1943 to 1946 and was part of the 2nd Marine Division. Following the war, he and the other code talkers were sworn to secrecy in case the Navajo language would ever be needed again.
Due to the classified status of the Navajo Code Talkers, Mr. Willie did not discuss his for years. According to his daughter, Annabelle Smallcanyon, he eventually opened up about being a Code Talker but remained a bit guarded about what he told.
“He kept to himself but after going