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Comanche code talker trainer dies at 86

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - Maj. Gen. Hugh H. Foster Jr. (Ret.) who trained Comanche
code talkers in World War II died Jan. 2 at his home in Furlong, Pa. He was
86.

Foster was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in
1941. His first assignment was as a platoon leader in the 4th Signal
Company, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga. It was during this
assignment Foster trained 17 Comanche code talkers months before the tactic
was used by the Marine Corps in the Pacific Theatre. The Comanche code
talkers trained by Foster deployed in the European Theatre and were
instrumental in the success of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The
Comanche code talkers established secure radio communications using an
unbreakable code based on. the Comanche language after they hit Utah Beach
on D-Day.

"Dad was the most honorable man I've ever known," Hugh M. Foster III told
Indian Country Today of his father. "He did everything he could to archive
the military contributions of [American] Indians."

Foster III said that when the Comanche code talkers were recognized in 1999
they insisted that his father was included. The Comanche adopted Foster as
brother of the Comanche people and traditional Comanche blankets were
placed on his casket with the U.S. flag at his funeral.

Foster served an impressive 34 years in the military. After training the
Comanche code talkers, Foster participated in five campaigns in North
Africa and Italy during World War II. He later served in the Korean War and
in Vietnam. He served in several key staff positions throughout the world
culminating in his service as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army
Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, N.J. in 1975.

A former Eagle Scout, Foster was awarded the Army's Legion of Merit four
times and earned the Army Distinguished Service Medal for his service in
the Vietnam War. He held a master's degree in Engineering. from Purdue
University, was also a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School
of Business Administration, the Army Command and Staff College and the Army
War College.

Foster was preceded in death by his son Harry D. Foster. He is survived by
his wife of 58 years, Mary Jane Foster; their two sons Lt. Col. (Ret.) Hugh
F. Foster III of Carlisle, Pa and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert J. Foster and his
wife Joanne of Stafford, Va.; their daughter-in-law Christine Kirk Foster
of Ringwood, N.J.; his brother Albert L. Foster of Jenkinstown, Pa.; and
grandchildren Capt. Robert Foster, Kate Foster and Brianna C. Foster.

Burial with full military honors took place at United States Military
Academy Cadet Chapel with internment at the West Point cemetery.