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Joe Hosteen Kellwood, Navajo Code Talker, Dies at 95

Image: Joe Hosteen Kellwood, Navajo Code Talker, Dies at 95

Joe Hosteen Kellwood (Facebook/Marine Corps Times)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 12:53 PM

Joe Hosteen Kellwood, a Navajo Code Talker from World War II, died Monday at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix. He was 95.

More than 400 Navajos were recruited by the military as Code Talkers, transmitting battle messages in their native, unwritten language, creating a code that Japanese soldiers could not crack, the Arizona Republic noted.

Kellwood joined the Marines at 21 in 1942 and was trained at the Navajo Talkers' School at Camp Elliott in San Diego, reported the Republic. He joined the 1st Marine Division, 5th Marine Regiment and boarded a transport ship to Melbourne, Australia.

"Kellwood served with distinction in the 1st Marine Division as a Navajo Code Talker, ultimately helping lead the Allied forces to victory in World War II," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. "Today, as Arizonans celebrate the life of this patriot, let us pray for his family, his friends, and the Navajo Nation. And let us never forget the countless contributions that Code Talkers made to our state and our country."

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona expressed his sentiments in a Twitter post.

 

Born on the Navajo Reservation in Steamboat Canyon, Arizona, Kellwood was awarded the Congressional Silver Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, Naval Unit Commendation, Good Conduct, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and WWII Victory Medal, according to his obituary.

"He loved to tell funny stories, laugh out loud and say 'by golly.' He enjoyed family gatherings, cook-outs and just spending quality time with good friends and family," his obituary said.

Others express their condolences for Kellwood on social media.

 

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Joe Hosteen Kellwood, a Navajo Code Talker from World War II, died Monday at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix. He was 95.
joe hosteen kellwood, navajo, code talker, dies
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Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 12:53 PM
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