Crow code talkers awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Great Falls Tribune

The descendants of four Montana servicemen from the Crow Indian Nation accepted Congress’ highest honor on their behalf of forefathers Thursday.

Congressional Gold Medals were awarded to Barney Old Coyote, Henry Old Coyote, Samson Birdinground and Cyril Notafraid, all of whom volunteered to defend their country as code talkers during World War II

Conceived in 1918, the code talker program used unique Native American languages for communications, and was comprised of more than 400 Native Americans who volunteered to defend the nation. The four Montana servicemen used their Crow language during military intelligence operations in World War II to save countless lives.

“The Crow Tribe has a long and proud history of serving in the Armed Forces. Today we honor four men who dedicated themselves to ensuring that the United States would remain free,” said Montana Sen. Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “These young men transmitted secret coded messages using their language which was so unique that the code could not be broken by enemy forces. That unbreakable code and the spirit of the code talkers live on today in the language and culture of the Crow Nation.”

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