One of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers died this week, leaving only one founding member of the elite Marine Corps unit that developed an unbreakable secret code during World War II still alive.
Lloyd Oliver died March 16. His daughter, Lucinda, said he was 87 years old. She said funeral services are tentatively scheduled for tomorrow morning at a Presbyterian church on the Gila River reservation, where Oliver lived.
In 2009, an ABC News story about the Code Talkers said Oliver, a trained sniper, had long been deaf as a result of exposure to enemy gunfire during the war. He joined the Marines at 19 because “my girlfriend was mad (and) I had to get away.”
The elite Navajo Code Talker unit was formed in 1942 as a way to prevent the Japanese from decrypting secret American messages. The only remaining member of that original unit is Chester Nez, who lives in Albuquerque.