Friday, October 31, 2008

Last Lakota Code Speaker honored

The Rapid City Journal is reporting:

HOT SPRINGS -- Officials at the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans
Home in Hot Springs paid tribute Thursday to the lone surviving Lakota Code Talker,
Clarence Wolfguts.

Wolfguts, 84, was recognized in the Code Talkers
Recognition Act signed by President Bush earlier this month. The bill authorized
the production of a congressional medal for all Native American code talkers.The
aging veteran did not speak at the program attended by 70 fellow veterans home
residents, staff members, family members and dignitaries. Wolfguts, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe,
served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
He and other Native American soldiers from different tribes were assigned to
exchange coded radio messages about troop movements and other sensitive
information. That befuddled enemy soldiers, who could not decipher their
languages, thus providing for secure communications.The 2002 South Dakota
Legislature honored Wolfguts and 10 other Native code talkers for their
work, saying it saved the lives of countless American and allied
forces.According to the Congressional Record, Wolfguts was one of a team of Lakota code talkers during
the war who exchanged information over the radio under heavy combat action.Wolfguts and the code
talkers were so successful that military commanders credit them as key to the
success of many battles, the record said.

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