Private First Class Preston Toledo and Private First Class Frank Toledo, cousins and Navajos attached to a Marine Artillery Regiment in the South Pacific, relay orders over a field radio in their native tongue July 7, 1943. U.S. Marine Corps photo/National Archives No. 127-MN-57875
PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statement today honoring the life and memory of Fleming Begaye Sr., a Navajo Code Talker who served in the United States Marine Corps. Begaye passed away on May 10 at the age of 97.
“With the passing of Mr. Begaye, Arizona has lost an American hero,” said Ducey. “Mr. Begaye joined the over 430 Code Talkers who stepped up to serve our nation in its time of need during World War II. By using their native language, the Code Talkers formed an unbreakable code that was decisive in helping the Allied Forces claim victory.
“Today, Arizona celebrates the life of Mr. Begaye, and we express our gratitude for his service and sacrifice in defense of freedom. We express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Begaye’s family, friends and the entire Navajo Nation.”