Choctaw Code Talkers to be Honored by TX Military Forces - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

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Choctaw Code Talkers to be Honored by TX Military Forces

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An exhibit in the Texas Military Forces Museum depicts a Choctaw code talker at work in an outpost on the Western Front during World War I. An exhibit in the Texas Military Forces Museum depicts a Choctaw code talker at work in an outpost on the Western Front during World War I.

From news release:  

AUSTIN, Texas (Aug. 15, 2007) - The Texas Military Forces will honor the Choctaw "code talkers" of World War I during events on Camp Mabry Sept. 16.

Less well known than the Navaho code talkers in the Pacific theater of operations in World War II, the Choctaws pioneered the U.S. military's use of a Native American language to baffle enemy code-breakers.

Lt. Gen. Charles G. Rodriguez, Adjutant General of Texas, will present 18 Lone Star Medals of Valor to the families of the Choctaw code talkers Sept. 16. Attending the presentation will be family members of the Choctaw code talkers and officials of the Choctaw Nation.

There will also be a special dedication of the Choctaw code talkers exhibit at the Brig. Gen. John C.L. Scribner Military Forces Museum on Camp Mabry and a reception afterwards. These activities will take place beginning at 2 p.m.

During World War I,  Choctaw Soldiers were organized into Company E of the 142nd Infantry Division, part of the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division. While on the Western Front in France, an officer overheard two Choctaw Soldiers talking to each other in their own language. Since American units had suffered losses because the Germans were able to listen to their radio conversations, the thought struck him that none of the Germans would understand the Choctaws' language.

Eight Choctaws were quickly trained to become radio communicators, then six more. They developed a code that used Choctaw words for certain military terms and were assigned to different headquarters. During the German's major 1918 offensive in the Meuse-Argonne region, their communications resulted in a successful counterattack against the Germans, whose offensive - their last - ultimately failed.

The Lone Star Medal of Valor, the second highest decoration awarded by Texas Military Forces, will be the first U.S. military medal to recognize the service of the Choctaw code-talkers.

Also on Sept. 16, beginning at 10 a.m., the 36th Infantry Division will have a change of command ceremony. Space will be reserved on the reviewing stand for the Choctaw delegation.