Navajo Nation Mourns Passing of Code Talker July 20, 2011 WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Joe Morris Sr., a member of the Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, has died. He was 85. Navajo Nation officials say Morris died Sunday from undisclosed health complications in Riverside, Calif. Tribal President Ben Shelly on Wednesday ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff until Friday in honor of Morris, who lived in Indian Wells, Ariz. Morris joined the Marines in 1944 along with 420 other Navajo Code Talkers. He served with the 6th Marine Division 22nd Regiment in Guadalcanal, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa, Tinstao and China until he was honorably discharged in 1946. Morris is survived by his wife, Charlotte, three children and three grandchildren. His funeral is scheduled Monday in Riverside. WWII Navajo Code Talker Joe Morris Dies at 85 July 21, 2011 LOMA LINDA, Calif. — Navajo code talker Joe Morris, one of more than 400 American Indians who used the language of their ancestors to relay secret battlefield orders during World War II, has died. He was 85. The longtime resident of the Mojave Desert community of Daggett died Sunday after a stroke at the Veterans Administration Loma Linda Healthcare System, spokesman Dave Allen said Thursday. Navajo code talkers were young Navajo men who used their language to successfully transmit secret communications in every major engagement in the Pacific theater, including Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Morris kept secret what he did during his Marine Corps service until President Ronald Reagan declassified the role of the code talkers in 1982. Morris then began giving presentations to schools and colleges. The Navajo dialect never left the Southwest United States and the language was never written down. The Japanese had no way of learning it, and the complicated nature of the language made it difficult for others to learn. Twenty-nine original code talkers were recruited to train another 400 Navajo to work as communicators. Morris was 17 when he joined the Marines, his daughter Colleen Anderson told the Victorville Daily Press. He was quite modest about his role in the war and didn’t consider himself a hero, she said. “He just wasn’t that kind of person. He would say that he didn’t do it alone. He would always include (the other code talkers) in presentations,” Anderson said. Besides his daughter, Morris is survived by his wife of 61 years, Charlotte, and sons Joe Jr. and Elliot. A funeral was scheduled for Monday at East Hills Unity Church in Riverside, followed by burial at Riverside National Cemetery.
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