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Published On: Wed, Oct 31st, 2012


Oct. 31

WINDOW ROCK– When it came to the defense of the United States, a group young men never wavered or back down to protecting the homeland.

On late Monday, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said in a press release that they will commemorate the life of Navajo Code Talker George Smith, 90, who passed away Tuesday at Gallup Indian Medical Center.

As a tribute to Code Talker Smith’s service, President Shelly has ordered the Navajo Nation Flag to be flown at half-staff from Wednesday, Oct. 31 through sundown Nov. 4.

The Navajo leader said it brings pride to the Nation, “This news has saddened me. Our Navajo Code Talkers have been real life heroes to generations of Navajo people. They have brought pride to our Navajo people in so many ways. The Nation’s prayers and thoughts are with the family at this time as they mourn the passing of a great family man who served his country and protected his people,” President Shelly said.

According to Erny Zah, he said Code Talker Smith was born on June 15, 1922 in Mariano Lake, New Mex. He attended school at Crownpoint, Fort Wingate and eventually earned his diesel mechanic credentials in Chicago, Ill.

Navajo Code Talker George Smith, 90. Photo Courtesy photo from the Navajo Times photographer Paul Natonabah. The photo was originally published on Aug. 13, 2011.

Code Talker Smith enlisted with the U.S. Marines in 1943 and was trained as Navajo Code Talker. He achieved the rank of Corporal while serving in World War II in the Pacific Theater. He fought in battles at Siapan, Tinian, Ryukyu Islands and served in places such as Okinawa, Hawa’ii and Japan.

He served as a Code Talker with his brother Albert Smith.

After serving his country, he began work at Fort Wingate Army Depot as destroyer of old ammunition. He then began work as a mechanic at Fort Wingate Trading Post, working for Paul Merrill. His career eventually led him to Fort Defiance where he was a shop foreman. He eventually finished his career in Shiprock working for Navajo Engineering Construction Authority as a heavy equipment mechanic.

“Code Talker Smith led an honorable life. He served his country, then provided for his family,” President Shelly said.

Code Talker Smith is preceded in death by his parents, Redd and Betsy Dawoola Smith, parents, Johanna Smith, stepmother, Sherman Pinto, brother, Mary Christine Begay, sister, and Dorothy Jarmillio, sister.

Code Talker Smith is survived by brothers and his 20 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup, New Mexico Burial services will follow at Rehobeth Cemetary in Rehobeth, New Mex. Interment will follow the burial.

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