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Doctor Curmudgeon® Indeed…an Unbreakable Code!

By Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAP Doctor Eisman is in Family Practice in Aventura, Florida with her partner, Dr. Eugene Eisman, an internist/cardiologist

Renpet settled into the couch and opened her laptop. Renpet is a feline member of the Curmudgeon family and is retired (we think) from the CIA.

Fluffing her tail, she said, “I know we all love having our previous little kitten cousins spend some time with us.”

Laughing, I remembered when they were much smaller. Their favorite pastime had been racing across the dining room table whenever guests were dining with us.

Folding up my newspaper I asked “What have those little imps done now?”

“Oh no! They are wonderful. They have a school project to write about anything of historical significance. Quite a bit of latitude. They wanted to know about the CIA. But I deflected them to research the Code Talkers.”

“They are actually excited about exploring the topic,” she murmured as she began to type away.”

The Code Talkers! A group of Native American heroes who bravely served the United States military during World Wars I and II.

In battle, it is urgent to have the ability to transmit and receive messages. And, of equal importance these messages must be securely encoded so no one else learns of plans.

The Code Talker history begins during World War I.

In 1918 the United States Army became aware of a huge problem. Their messages were not secure. It was then that a group of Cherokee soldiers began to use their own languages for transmittal with great success. These Native Americans continued to work diligently until the end of World War I.

Colonel Alfred Wainwright Bloor, commander of the World War I 142nd infantry, 36th Infantry Davison said, ‘it was remembered that the regiment possess a company of Indians. They spoke twenty-six different languages or dialects, only four or five of which were ever written.”

It was not long before the Indians developed an official code within their languages.

From the Central Intelligence Agency website: “During World War II, the Marine Corps used one of the thousands of languages spoken in the world to create an unbreakable code; Navajo.”

In both Wars, many native languages were used for secure transmission. In addition to the Navajos, and also the Choctaw, there were other tribes and White Wolf Pack lists some of them; “Comanche, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Osage, Lakota, Dakota, Chippewa, Oneida, Sac, Fox, Meskwaki, Hopi, Assiniboine, Kiowa, Pawnee, Akwesasne, Menominee, Creek, Creek, Cree Seminole.”

.it was in World War II that an officer decided to see just how accurate and quick these Code Talkers were.

He learned, according to the Central Intelligence Agency website, that they “successfully translated, transmitted and re-translated a test message in two and a half minutes. Without using the Navajo code, it could take hours for a soldier to complete the same task.”

Although the Navajos were greatly respected by their fellow Marines, they were not honored for their brave and brilliant work until 1982.
President Ronald Reagan presented a Certificate of Recognition and cited August 14 as “Navajo Code Talkers Day.”
Then, in 2000, President Clinton signed a law giving the original twenty nine Code Talkers the Congressional Gold Medal.
In 2001, President George W. Bush honored the four surviving Code Talkers with medals presented in Washington.
Wikipedia notes,” The code talkers improved the speed of encryption and decryption of communications in front line operations during World War II and are credited with a number of decisive victories. Their code was never broken.”

Doctor Curmudgeon® is Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D., a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors.
SERMO www.sermo.com

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