World War II code talker whose messages helped America’s victory dies aged 96

One of the last remaining Navajo code talkers has died at the age of 96.

William Tully Brown served in the Marine Corps and used the code to help transmit top secret messages during World War II.

He is the third Navajo Code Talker to pass away since May 10, the Navajo Nation said, according to CNN.

William Tully Brown / LongRoom

The Navajo code, which is the only spoken military code “never to have been deciphered”, was also used during the Korean War and ended during the Vietnam war.

The Navajo code was vital to American war efforts and was used in all the major Marine operations “in the Pacific theater”, according to CNN

‘Critical to America’s victory’

“During the battle for Iwo Jima, Navajo Code Talkers in the Marines successfully transmitted more than 800 messages, which proved critical to America’s victory,” the article states.

William Tully Brown died Monday, June 3rd, in Winslow, Arizona, according to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. The cause of death is unknown.

william tully brown
William Tully Brown / Mark Henle, Mark Henle/The Republic

He enlisted with the Marine Corps in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946.

He was the recipient of the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Honorable Service Lapel Button.

‘He liked to make people laugh’

His granddaughter Delilah Yazzie said he would only talk about his war experiences when asked about it.

“He was a very humble person. He didn’t like being in the limelight, he was reserved. He was a jokester and he liked to make people laugh,” Delilah told the Farmington Daily Times.

Find out more about this clever war tactic from fellow Navajo code talker Roy Hawthorne in the clip below.

What an amazing man and so humble about his astonishing achievements. Rest in peace William Tully Brown.