Code Talker shares birthday with Veterans Day
Condensed by Native Village
11th was both Veterans Day and the birthday of 90-year-old Navajo Code Talker,
David E. Patterson.
His family threw
him a surprise birthday party he'll never forget.
Patterson was a Navajo
Code talker in the Pacific during World War II against
Japan. He and other Navajos used their language to transmit battlefield tactics and other
crucial messages for the U.S. and allies. The Japanese
could never crack the Navajo's code, and this helped the
U.S. defeat Japan in
Patterson now lives with his son, Pat, in Rio Rancho. Pat
organized his father's surprise. He
said he knew very little of his father's service in World
"I knew he served in the Marines. I knew he was obviously a
veteran. But as far as knowing he was a Code Talker, he
never spoke of it," Pat Patterson said.
One of his father's favorite routines now is bowling.
"He's still an inspiration. He's still a big bowler. He
still likes to bowl once a
week. We take him up stairs in
Santa Ana to bowl once a week. He still likes it. He reads
his bowling novels. He reads his code talker stuff," the son
The family surprised David Patterson with family members
from across the region.
"It surprised me. I was kinda nervous, but I can't wait to
open those presents," David Patterson said.
One present came from his son. It was a new bowling ball
with the Marine Corps logo on it.
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