Film, Video WWII Reunion: Navajo Code Talkers 2

Transcript: TEXT

About this Item


  • WWII Reunion: Navajo Code Talkers 2


  • As part of the National World War II Reunion held on Memorial Day weekend on the National Mall in Washington, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project sponsored several programs presenting compelling accounts of WWII history.

Event Date

  • May 30, 2004


  • -  Sam Smith was too young to enlist in the Armed Forces when he learned of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor while living in Arizona, but began then to formulate a plan to become a Marine. At age 16 the following year, he joined the Marines and was assigned to an artillery unit following basic training. When his commander determined that he was Navajo, he was transferred to the 4th Marine Division and sent to Camp Pendleton, Calif., for general communications training and specialized training to become a Code Talker. He was sent to the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Tinian and other Pacific islands, interrupted by training periods in Hawaii when he taught the code to others. He spent 31 days on Iwo Jima as the Marines fought to take the island from the Japanese. Since the war, he has held numerous positions of leadership in his community in New Mexico.
  • -  Born in Tonalea, Ariz., Keith Little enlisted in the Marines in 1943 when he was 17. He was assigned to communications school at Camp Pendleton, Calif., to be trained as a radio operator and to qualify as a Navajo Code Talker. Assigned to the 4th Marine Division in December 1943, Little was sent overseas to Roi-Namur the following month, and subsequently to Saipan, Tinian , and Iwo Jima, were he served for the duration of the battle to take the island. He was in a convalescent camp in Maui, Hawaii, in August 1945 when he learned that the Japanese had surrender, ending the war. He returned to his home in the Southwest to continue his education and start a family. Little is a retired logging manager, and his active in numerous organizations in his community.
  • -  A native of Kinlichee, Ariz., Sam Billison enlisted in the Marines in 1943 and was sent to signal school at Camp Pendelton immediately after boot camp. He was taught not only combat techniques, but trained to become a Navajo Code Talker. He landed on Iwo Jima on the second day of the battle to take the island, and with other Code Talkers transmitted more than 800 error-free messages during 26 days of fighting. Following the war, Billison continued his education and served as a school principal for many years. He was elected to the Navajo Tribal Council, is the founder and president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, and currently serves as an education consultant.

Running Time

  • 52 minutes

Online Format

  • video
  • image
  • online text

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Credit Line: Library of Congress

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Chicago citation style:

WWII Reunion: Navajo Code Talkers 2. 2004. Video.

APA citation style:

(2004) WWII Reunion: Navajo Code Talkers 2. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

WWII Reunion: Navajo Code Talkers 2. 2004. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.