News Releases

WWII Code Talker Visit Highlights Native American and Veterans Day Observances at Glenn
11.09.04
NASA Glenn Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
Phone: 216-433-8806
E-mail: lori.j.rachul@nasa.gov

Note to Editors/News Directors: 04-082

Keith M. Little, a member of the Navajo Nation and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) veteran who served as a Navajo Code Talker during WWII will visit NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, on Wednesday, November 10.

Little will be the keynote speaker for the Native American Month Observance program from 10 a.m. - noon. He will speak on the theme, "Expanding the Circle." In addition, Little will serve as the guest speaker for the Veterans Awareness Week Ceremony from 1 - 2 p.m. He will speak of the Navajo Code Talker Project and how it influenced the outcome of WWII. Following these special events, Little will continue to share his experience with a broader audience using Glenn's Digital Learning Network and participate in a live videoconference with three schools from 4 - 5 p.m. Little will talk with students and teachers from Turtle Mountain Community College, N.D.; Circle of Nations, a NASA Explorer School in N.D.; and Cumberland Middle School, a NASA Explorer School in Wis.

Little was born in 1924 and grew up around Tonalea, Ariz., the Western Navajo National area. In May 1943, Little enlisted in the USMC, he entered Communication Training School to be a radio operator and study the Navajo Code System. In December 1943, he transferred to Head Quarters Company, 1st Battalion Twenty Fourth Marines, Fourth Marine Division. From 1944 through 1945 he served in various campaigns including Iwo Jima Island, Volcano Islands. He was discharged from the USMC in November 1945.

A Code Talker's primary job was to talk and transmit information on tactics, troop movements, orders and other vital battlefield information via telegraphs and radios in their native dialect. The Navajo Code Talkers, whose ranks exceeded 400 during the course of World War II in the Pacific Theater, served in all six Marine divisions from 1942 to 1945.

These special programs are being sponsored by Glenn's Native American Advisory Council, managed through the Center's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Media representatives interested in covering these employee-only events should call Lori Rachul or the Media Relations Office, 216-433-2901, to be cleared through security.