Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December  2012

Code Talker shares birthday with Veterans Day
Condensed by Native Village

November 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.

From 1943-1945
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 the war.

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 War II.

"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 said.

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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