Code Talkers most recognized with congressional gold medals
- Published: May 18, 2015, 6 AM
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To this point, the most extensive series of congressional gold medals authorized are those for the Native American Code Talkers, recently recognized for sending unbreakable radio messages coded in their native languages, providing unparalleled communications services for military operations during World Wars I and II.
Two separate pieces of Code Talkers legislation were passed eight years apart — the Navajo Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2000, and the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.
The 2000 act specifically recognizes the Navajo Marine Corps Radio Operators from World War II. The 2008 act recognizes the Code Talker contributions in World Wars I and II from 33 other tribes.
The Navajo Code Talkers medal’s obverse features the likenesses of two actual Code Talkers, Henry Bake and George Kirk, who served in the South Pacific.
Bronze duplicates of each of the first 27 of the 33 planned medals are available from the U.S. Mint, in 1.5-inch and 3-inch sizes, respectively priced at $6.95 and $39.95 each. The U.S. Mint has struck and presented gold medals, so far, to the following tribes:
??Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
??Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
??Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes
??Muscogee (Creek) Nation
??Oglala Sioux Tribe
??Pueblo of Acoma Tribe
??Santee Sioux Nation
??Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux) Tribe
??Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
??Tonto Apache Tribe
??White Mountain Apache Tribe
??Yankton Sioux Tribe
Designs for the 28th medal, recognizing Code Talkers from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, are currently under review before final renditions are selected.
Remaining medal-eligible tribes to be recognized under the legislation are the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe, Pueblo of Laguna, and Mohawk Tribe.
Current bronze duplicates of the 3-inch gold medals are available in 1.5-inch and 3-inch sizes from the U.S. Mint’s website at http://catalog.usmint.gov/shop/medals/?_ga=1.186880939.2035841651.1400013284. Most of the bills authorizing the gold medals give the Mint authority to strike the collector versions of the medals.
A complete cumulative listing of the medals authorized as well as the recipients can be found at http://history.house.gov/Institution/Gold-Medal/Gold-Medal-Recipients/.
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