Navajo Code Talker Hero Chester Nez
Chester Nez 1921 – 2014
“Chester Nez and the rest of the Original 29 now belong to the ages.” – Navajo President Ben Shelly
SANTA FE — Chester Nez, who was the last surviving member of the Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, will be laid to rest on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Mr. Nez walked on last Wednesday, June 4, in his sleep. He was 93.
A funeral mass will be conducted at Our Lady of Fatima at 10:00 a.m. – MDT, located at 4020 Lomas Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Code Talker Chester Nez during WWII
The Original 29 were the first Navajo Code Talkers to serve and they developed the code that would bewilder the Japanese in World War II. Due to national security, the work of the Navajo Code Talkers was kept secret for decades after World War II. It was only in recent decades, the nation paid honor to the heroic duties performed by the Code Talkers.
After learning of Nez’s death last week, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said the passing of Nez closes another chapter in the annals of Navajo history.
“Chester Nez and the rest of the Original 29 now belong to the ages. We salute their valiant service and memory,” President Shelly stated.
Nez saw combat as a Navajo Code Talker at the Battle of Guadalcanal, Battle of Guam, Battle of Peleiu, and Battle of Bogainville during World War II. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1945.
Nez also served in the Marine Corps Reserves and again saw combat during the Korean Conflict.
In 2011, Nez wrote about his experience with co-author Judith Avila in the book, “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.”