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Navajo Code Talker dies at 95 in Phoenix

The Navajo Code Talkers have lost another of their own.

Joe Hosteen Kellwood, 95, died Sept. 5 at Veterans Hospital. Mr. Kellwood served in the First Marine Division during World War II in the Pacific Theater, experiencing combat in Cape Gloucester, Peleleiu and Okinawa.

The Navajo Times reported earlier this year that fewer than 20 Navajo Code Talkers were still living.

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In 2000, Congress awarded a congressional gold medal recognizing the efforts of the Navajo Code Talkers in using their Native American language during World War II as code to communicate between military units; the enemy could not decipher the messages.

Bronze duplicates of the congressional gold medal are available for purchase from the U.S. Mint in 1.5-inch and 3-inch sizes.

In 2008, Congress passed separate legislation for congressional gold medals honoring the efforts of Code Talkers from 33 other Native American tribal units. Duplicates of those medals are also available in bronze from the Mint.

Mr. Kellwood was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona on Sept. 8.

Mr. Kellwood's military service is chronicled by the Library of Congress through its Veterans History Project.

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