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Choctaw Code Talkers

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Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaws in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions.


Contrary to the Hollywood war movie Wind Talkers, the practice of securing battlefield communication by having Native Americans transmit messages in their own languages did not begin during the Second World War. The tactic was initiated amongst Choctaw National Guardsmen in the Battle for Blanc Mont Ridge in the Champagne Sector of France in October 1918.

The men who made up the United States' first code talkers were either full-blood or mixed-blood Choctaw Indians. All were born in the Choctaw Nation of the Indian Territory, in what is now southeastern Oklahoma, during the time their nation was a self-governed republic. Later, other tribes would use their languages for the military in various units, most notably the Navajo in WWII.

The nineteen known code talkers are as follows:

1. Albert Billy (1885-1958). Billy, a full blood Choctaw, was born at Howe, San Bois County, Choctaw Nation, in the Indian Territory. He was a member of the 36th Division, Company E.

2. Mitchell Bobb (January 7, 1895). Bobb's place of birth was Rufe, Indian Territory Rufe, Oklahoma in the Choctaw Nation, his date of death is unknown. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

3. Victor Brown (1896-1966). Brown was born at Goodwater, Kiamitia County, Choctaw Nation.

4. Ben Carterby (December 11, 1891 - 1953). Carterby was a full blood Choctaw roll number 2045 born in Ida, Choctaw County, Oklahoma.

5. Benjamin Franklin Colbert Born September 15, 1900 at Durant Indian Territory, died January 1964. He was the youngest Code Talker. His Father, Benjamin Colbert Sr, was a Rough Rider during the Spanish - American War.

6. George Edwin Davenport was born in Finley, Oklahoma, April 28, 1887. He enlisted into the armed services in his home town. George may also have been called James. George was the half brother to Joseph Davenport. Died April 17, 1950.

7. Joseph Harvey Davenport was from Finley, Oklahoma, Feb 22, 1892. Died April 23, 1923 and is buried at the Davenport Family Cemetery on the Tucker Ranch.

8. James (Jimpson M.) Edwards (1898-1962). Edwards was born at Golden, Nashoba County, Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

9. Tobias W. Frazier (1892-1975). (A full blood Choctaw roll number 1823) Frazier was born in Cedar County, Choctaw Nation. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

10. Benjamin Wilburn Hampton (a full blood Choctaw roll number 10617) born May 31, 1892 in Bennington, Blue County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, now Bryan County, Oklahoma. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

11. Noel Johnson

12. Otis Wilson Leader (a Choctaw by blood roll number 13606) was born March 6, 1882 in what is today Atoka County, Oklahoma. He died March 26, 1961 and is buried in the Coalgate Cemetery.

13. Solomon Bond Louis (April 22, 1898 - February 15, 1972). Louis, a full blood Choctaw, was born at Hochatown, Eagle County, Choctaw Nation, in the Indian Territory. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E. He died in Bennington, Bryan County, Oklahoma in 1972.

14. Pete Maytubby was born Peter P. Maytubby (a full blood Chickasaw roll number 4685) on September 26, 1892 in Reagan, Indian Territory now located in Johnston County, Oklahoma. Pete was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E. He died in 1964 and is buried at the Tishomingo City Cemetery in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

15. Jeff Nelson (unknown). He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

16. Joseph Oklahombi (May 1, 1895 - 1960). Oklahombi - whose surname in the Choctaw language means man killer - was born at Bokchito, Nashoba County, Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory. He was a member of the 143rd Infantry, Headquarters Company. Oklahombi is Oklahoma's most decorated war hero, and his medals are on display in the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City.

17. Robert Taylor (a full blood Choctaw roll number 916) was born January 13, 1894 in Idabel, McCurtain County, Oklahoma (based on his registration for the military in 1917). He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E.

18. Charles Walter Veach (May 18, 1884 - October 13, 1966). (Choctaw by Blood roll #10021) Veach was from Durant, OK (Blue County I.T.)he served in the last Choctaw legislature and as Captain of the Oklahoma National Guard, 1st Oklahoma, Company H which served on the TX border against Pancho Villa and put down the Crazy Snake Rebellion. He remained Captain when Company H. 1st Oklahoma, was mustered into Company E. 142nd Infantry, 36th Division, U. S. Army at Ft. Bowie, TX in October 1917. After WWII he represented the Choctaw Nation on the Inter-tribal Council of the 5 Civilized Tribes. He is buried in Highland Cemetery, Durant, Oklahoma.

19. Calvin Wilson Calvin was born June 25, 1894 at Eagletown, Eagle County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He was a member of the 142nd Infantry, Company E. His date of death is unknown. Wilson's name is misspelled in military records as "Cabin."

Additional Choctaw soldiers may have contributed to the effort, although records in this regard do not explicitly confirm it. Tobias Frazier, as example, often referred to a Choctaw Code Talker whose surname was Simpson, from Moyers, Oklahoma.


During World War I, about 9,000 American Indians served in the armed services. At the time the members of the Choctaw nation were not formally U.S. citizens. They fought and died in defense of a nation that still denied most of them the right to participate in the political process. Congress, as a result, enacted legislation on November 6, 1919, granting citizenship to Indian veterans of World War I who were not yet citizens.

"BE IT ENACTED . . . that every American Indian who served in the Military or Naval Establishments of the United States during the war against the Imperial German Government, and who has received or who shall hereafter receive an honorable discharge, if not now a citizen and if he so desires, shall, on proof of such discharge and after proper identification before a court of competent jurisdiction, and without other examination except as prescribed by said court, be granted full citizenship with all the privileges pertaining thereto, without in any manner impairing or otherwise affecting the property rights, individuals or tribal, of any such Indian or his interest in tribal or other Indian property."

The 1919 American Indian Citizenship Act did not grant automatic citizenship to American Indian veterans who received an honorable discharge. The Act merely authorized those American Indian veterans who wanted to become American citizens to apply for and be granted citizenship. Few Indians actually followed through on the process, but it was another step towards citizenship.




Code Talkers of WWI | Choctaw Nation
Choctaw Code Talkers
Choctaw Indian Code Talkers of World War I
Code Talker
Choctaw Code Talkers Association
Choctaw Code Talkers | NAPT
The Language of Victory
Native Words Native Warriors - NMAI



American Indian Languages Used In Code Talking

American Indian Code Talkers' languages and the numbers of tribal members who served, if known. There were at least two Code Talkers from each tribe.

Native American code talkers deployed by the United States Army during World War I.
Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Comanche, Osage, Yankton Sioux.

Native American code talkers deployed by the United States Army during World War II.
Assiniboine, Cherokee, Chippewa/Oneida (17), Choctaw, Comanche (17), Hopi (11), Kiowa, Menominee, Muscogee/Creek and Seminole, Navajo (about 420), Pawnee, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki (19), Sioux - Lakota and Dakota dialects.



Sources:
NebraskaStudies.org
ONAP - Native Americans in the Military - HUD
Wikipedia
National Museum of the American Indian







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