He is flanked by his great-grandson, Zack Swamp-Smoke (holding medal), his cousin Barney Rourke and members of the American Legion Post 1479. Amazing, amazing moment to witness!
Published May 30, 2016
AKWESASNE, NEW YORK—Levi Oakes, 94, the last surviving World War II Akwesasne Mohawk Code Talker, received the Congressional Silver Medal on Saturday, May 28, 2016.
Many people do not realize that the Mohawks were among 10 tribes that produced code talkers during World War II. Tribal members who became code talkers during the war had received special training so that they could provide relay messages in their tribal languages so that the enemies could not understand.
Akwesasne Mohawk Code Talker Levi Oakes, 92, receiving his Congressional Silver Medal from U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and American Legion Post #1479 Commander Michael ‘Goon’ Cook.
Oakes was surrounded by over 550 family, friends and community members as U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (New York-21) presented him with the Congressional Silver Medal.
The historic medal ceremony tookplace at Generations Park in Akwesasne.
In addition to Mr. Oakes receiving his Congressional award, twenty-four Akwesasne Mohawk veterans were recognized for their service in WWII and the Korean War with bronze medals. Their proud families were on hand to accept the silver and bronze medals on their behalf.
The Congressional Medal is the highest civilian award that can be awarded to an individual by the U.S. Congress.
Oakes was a technician with the 4th Grade, Company B, 442nd Signal Battalion, United States Army. His service included a two-and-half year stint in the Asiatic Pacific. He received an honorable discharge on February 15, 1946.