A World War II Navajo Code Talker died Sunday at the age of 94.
David Patterson, Sr. passed away in New Mexico after battling pneumonia and complications from an injury sustained from a fall.
Patterson served in the Marine Corps during WW II and was the recipient of the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Navajo Code Talkers are credited with providing secure communications for U.S. troops during WW II through the means of their native language. Their ‘code talk’ was never broken by the enemy during key battles in the Pacific theater of war.
“It’s a sad day on the Navajo Nation when we lose a national treasure like we did in losing Navajo Nation Code Talker David Patterson, Sr.,” President Begaye said. “Beyond his service in protecting our freedom, he was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.
Although Patterson didn’t talk much about his service, his son, Pat Patterson, said his father was proud of being a Navajo Code Talker. “He attended as many Code Talker events as he could,” he said. “It was only when his health started to decline that he didn’t attend as many.”