Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today announced that President Bush has signed the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 into law, thereby directing the issuance of medals to honor the dedicated and valorous service of Native American code talkers during World War II.

"While long overdue, this honor is very well deserved. These code talkers provided secure communications that the Axis powers were never able to decode, ultimately helping save lives and enabling Allied victory. These brave men are to be commended for their service and their story remains an inspiration to all Americans," Thune said. Senator Thune was one of five original co-sponsors of the bipartisan measure that eventually drew 73 co-sponsors in the Senate and 300 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The American military's use of Native American code talkers goes back to October, 1918, and were extensively used throughout both the European and Pacific theaters during World War II. Because the innovative communications used by the code talkers were based on native languages and not mathematical progressions nor machine-based code, enemy forces were unable to exploit Allied exchanges for the length of the war. These secure communications proved to be both faster and more secure than other methods of encrypting and sending messages - an incredible benefit in keeping the advantage of surprise during combat operations.

Thune added, "I am also very proud to honor one of South Dakota's own, Mr. Clarence Wolf Guts of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Clarence is very deserving of this recognition, and I was very pleased to champion this measure as it passed the Senate." Mr. Wolf Guts is the last surviving Lakota Code Talker from World War II.