WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in New Mexico, Navajo Nation officials said.
David Patterson Sr. died Sunday in Rio Rancho at age 94 from pneumonia and complications from subdural hematoma. Few Navajo Code Talkers are still alive.
Patterson and hundreds of other Navajos trained in radio communications were prohibited from talking about their work until it was declassified in 1968. Although Patterson couldn’t say much, one of his sons said he was proud of being a Code Talker.
“He attended as many Code Talker events as he could,” Pat Patterson said. “It was only when his health started to decline that he didn’t attend as many.”