Obverse and reverse designs were recommended Sept. 23 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee from among those proposed for congressional gold medals.
The two gold medals separately honor the Lake Superior Band of the Fond du Lac Chippewa Code Talkers and World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol.
For the Code Talkers medal, CCAC members wasted little time in approving an obverse design and a reverse design that had previously been endorsed by the Commission of Fine Arts and were the tribal preferences.
The recommended obverse depicts a Code Talker transcribing information being received. Incorporated foliage indicates the Fond du Lac code talkers served in the South Pacific.
CCAC member Robert Hoge, curator emeritus of the American Numismatic Society, questioned the source of inspiration for the proposed obverse designs, since the five sketches presented depicted Code Talkers with three different kinds of equipment and firearms.
A U.S. Mint representative said source materials given to the artists who rendered the designs were provided by the Department of Defense. The Mint official indicated the equipment and firearms were not meant to be specific to any tribe or military unit. She said she would be back in contact with the Department of Defense to ensure there are no problems with the design.
The recommended reverse depicts a variation of the Fond du Lac Tribe seal with a beading pattern around the border.
The inscription BAPASHKOMINITIGONG OGITCHIDAAG translates from the tribal language into English as “Fond du Lac soldiers” or “Fond du Lac warriors.”
Jeff Savage, a production artist and currently director of the Fond du Lac Cultural Center and Museum, said during the CCAC meeting that the medal honors the late Fond du Lac Code Talker Lex Porter.
Savage said the family of Porter, who passed away in 1990, did not know of his service as a Code Talker until family members were invited to a congressional ceremony in November 2013 recognizing all Code Talkers.