Tester-backed Bill Honors Native American WWII Code Talkers

Montana’s own Gilbert Horn Sr. among those recognized

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to honor the contributions of the Army’s Native American code talkers during World War II.

Tester’s Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act recognizes the extraordinary efforts and sacrifice of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), known as “Merrill’s Marauders,” which included the famous Native American code talkers, one of whom was Montana’s own Gilbert Horn Sr. of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe.

“Gilbert Horn Sr. and Merrill’s Marauders exemplified courage under fire and helped turn the tide in the Pacific theater,” Tester said. “This bill will help ensure we recognize and honor their bravery and sacrifice, and that the story of their contribution to history lives on for generations to come.”

Merrill’s Marauders was a clandestine special operations force that fought the Japanese in the Burma jungles at great cost, marching over 1,000 miles and engaging the Japanese Army 32 times.

Horn Sr. served as a code talker in the unit, speaking in Assiniboine language over radios to disguise American plans and locations from the enemy. Horn Sr. received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and went on to serve on the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council and as Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Region of the National Congress of American Indians.

Tester’s bill is cosponsored by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

You can read the Merrill’s Marauders Congressional Gold Medal Act HERE.