Accessibility links

Breaking News

WWII-era Navajo Code Talker Begaye Dies at 97 

FILE - President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Navajo Code Talkers Fleming Begaye, seated at left, Thomas Begay, second from left, and Peter MacDonald in the Oval Office of the White House, Nov. 27, 2017. Begaye died May 10, 2019, in Arizona at 97. 

The Navajo Nation has announced that World War II-era Navajo Code Talker Fleming Begaye has died.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said Begaye died Friday in Chinle, Arizona. He was 97. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Begaye was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese.

According to the Navajo Nation, Begaye served as a Code Talker from 1943 to 1945 and fought in the Battle of Tarawa and the Battle of Tinian. He spent a year in a naval hospital after being wounded.

Begaye later ran a general store in Chinle.

President Donald Trump honored Begaye and two other Navajo Code Talkers at the White House in November 2017.