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Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
  • Unit of Service: 1st Marine Division; 3rd Marine Division
  • Location of Service: Camp Pendleton, California; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Bougainville Island (Solomon Islands); Guam (Mariana Islands); Peleliu Island (Palau); Pacific Theater; Korea
  • Highest Rank: Corporal

View full service history

"People ask me, 'Why did you go? Look at all the mistreatment that has been done to your people.' Somebody’s got to go, somebody’s got defend this country. Somebody’s got to defend the freedom. This is the reason why I went." (Video Interview, 1:13:33)

During World War II, Marine recruiters came to a high school in Tuba City, Arizona, in search of Navajos to participate in a secret program. Chester Nez was one of the young men who volunteered, and he passed through rigorous training and testing to become one of the Code Talkers, who used their native language to confound Japanese who were intercepting American communications. Nez outlines in detail how 29 young recruits assembled a complex code that helped win the war. He recalls being mistaken for the enemy and having a gun held to his head by an overeager soldier.

Transcript: XML

About this Item

Title

  • Chester Nez Collection

Names

  • Navajo Code Talker's Project
  • Chalmers Ford, Don
  • Nez, Chester
  • Fleming, Carol
  • Warren C. Salomon

State of Birth

  • NM

Home State

  • NM

Headings

  • -  Nez, Chester
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Marine Corps.
  • -  Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Marine Corps.

Notes

  • -  Veteran states that he was born "on his cousin's brother's trading post."

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
    • Unit of Service: 1st Marine Division; 3rd Marine Division
    • Location of Service: Camp Pendleton, California; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Bougainville Island (Solomon Islands); Guam (Mariana Islands); Peleliu Island (Palau); Pacific Theater
    • Highest Rank: Corporal
    • Dates of Service: 1942-1945
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

    • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
    • Location of Service: Korea
    • Dates of Service: 1950-1951
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 10/01/2003)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Reference copy (collected 10/01/2003)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Reference copy (collected 10/01/2003)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/54891

Cite as

  • Chester Nez Collection (AFC/2001/001/54891), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • online text
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Navajo Code Talker'S Project, Don Chalmers Ford, Chester Nez, Carol Fleming, and Warren C. Salomon. Chester Nez Collection. 1942. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.54891/.

APA citation style:

Navajo Code Talker'S Project, Chalmers Ford, D., Nez, C., Fleming, C. & Warren C. Salomon. (1942) Chester Nez Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.54891/.

MLA citation style:

Navajo Code Talker'S Project, et al. Chester Nez Collection. 1942. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.54891/>.