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H.R. 4527 (106th): Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 23, 2000 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

HR 4527 IH


2d Session

H. R. 4527

To authorize the President to present a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to the Navajo Code Talkers in recognition of their contributions to the Nation.


May 23, 2000

Mr. UDALL of New Mexico (for himself and Mr. UDALL of Colorado) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Banking and Financial Services


To authorize the President to present a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to the Navajo Code Talkers in recognition of their contributions to the Nation.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Honoring the Navajo Code Talkers Act’.


    Congress finds the following:

      (1) On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor and war was declared by Congress the following day.

      (2) The military code, developed by the United States for transmitting messages, had been deciphered by the Japanese and a search by United States military intelligence was made to develop new means to counter the enemy.

      (3) The United States Government called upon the Navajo Nation to support the military effort by recruiting and enlisting 29 Navajo men to serve as Marine Corps radio operators; the number of enlistees later increased to over 350.

      (4) At the time, the Navajos were second-class citizens, and they were a people who were discouraged from using their own language.

      (5) The Navajo Marine Corps radio operators, who became known as the Navajo Code Talkers, were used to develop a code using their language to communicate military messages in the Pacific.

      (6) To the enemy’s frustration, the code developed by these Native Americans proved to be unbreakable and was used extensively throughout the Pacific theater.

      (7) The Navajo language, discouraged in the past, was instrumental in developing the most significant and successful military code of the time. At Iwo Jima alone, the Navajo Code Talkers passed over 800 error-free messages in a 48-hour period.

        (A) So successful were they, that military commanders credited the code with saving the lives of countless American soldiers and the successful engagements of the United States in the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa;

        (B) So successful were they, that some Code Talkers were guarded by fellow marines whose role was to kill them in case of imminent capture by the enemy; and

        (C) So successful were they, that the code was kept secret for 23 years after the end of World War II.

      (8) Following the conclusion of World War II, the Department of Defense maintained the secrecy of the Navajo code until it was declassified in 1968; only then did a realization of the sacrifice and valor of these brave Native Americans emerge from history.


    (a) PRESENTATION AUTHORIZED- The President is authorized to present to each of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, or a surviving family member, on behalf of the Congress, a gold medal of appropriate design, honoring the Navajo Code Talkers. The President is further authorized to present to each man who qualified as a Navajo Code Talker (MOS 642), or a surviving family member, a silver medal with suitable emblems and devices. These medals are to express recognition by the United States of America and its citizens in honoring the Navajo Code Talkers who distinguished themselves in performing a unique, highly successful communications operation that greatly assisted in saving countless lives and in hastening the end of World War II in the Pacific.

    (b) DESIGN AND STRIKING- For the purposes of the presentation referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ‘Secretary’) shall strike gold and silver medals with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.


    The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck pursuant to section 3 under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, and at a price sufficient to cover the costs thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.


    The medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51, of title 31, United States Code.


    (a) AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS- There is authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund an amount not to exceed $30,000 to pay for the costs of the medals authorized by this Act.

    (b) PROCEEDS OF SALE- Amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals under section 3 shall be deposited in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.