President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez and the 23rd Navajo Nation Council have offered condolences and words of honor to the family of Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, Sr., who died April 21st at the age of 92.
“Code Talker Hawthorne is highly respected,” President Begaye said in a release. “He was not only a hero and a warrior, but also as a true spokesman who worked on behalf of the welfare of the Navajo Code Talkers consistently. It is a privilege to have known him and I extend my condolences to his family, his fellow Navajo Code Talkers and his comrades.”
Hawthorne was born in Ganado, and resided in the community of Tsé Si áni, also known as Lupton, Ariz. Hawthorne was 17 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. After attending Camp Pendleton for several months for training, he was first shipped to Guadalcanal, which was then secured by the Americans. Later, he fought in the Battle of Okinawa. During World War II, he served with the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre. He later served in the Korean War and was promoted to corporal.
Hawthorne was vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association.
“We acknowledge Navajo Code Talker Hawthorne’s service to our nation and to the United States of America, as well as the sacrifices of his family,” Vice President Nez said in the release. “One of the projects he worked hard for was to create a museum for the Navajo Code Talkers – we will continue working on this in his honor and in honor of all Navajo Code Talkers.”
"The Navajo Nation Council offers our appreciation and prayers to the family of Roy Hawthorne, for his countless contributions and distinct service for our Navajo people and our country.” stated Speaker LoRenzo Bates.
Hawthorne is Kinłichíí’nii or Red House People Clan and born for Bilagáana, the White People.
In September 2015, Hawthorne and Code Talker Samuel Holiday returned to Camp Pendleton where the Navajo Nation Council honored them along with Major General Daniel J. O’Donohue, who served as the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, for their honorable service in World War II. The event marked the first time the two had returned to Camp Pendleton since enlisting with the Marine Corps.
During the event at Camp Pendleton, Hawthorne was presented an honorary coin from the Marine Corps. He spoke during the event and recalled the challenges that he and his fellow Code Talkers dealt with when leaving their homelands and in battle.
“When I was inducted into the Marine Corps and I raised my hand and swore allegiance to the United States of America, and I became a Marine, that’s when I became somebody. That’s when the whole world realized it wasn’t true that the Native Americans were non-achievers. That they were achievers,” Hawthorne said in a videotaped interview. “That’s what makes me very proud of the fact that we were chosen to do this specific task. And so we did.”
Council Delegate Raymond Smith, Jr., who represents the community of Tsé Si áni on the Council, also extended condolences to the family of Hawthorne and recalled him as a humble person, who sacrificed for his people and his country.
Code Talker Hawthorne was preceded in death by his wife, Jayne Hawthorne. He is survived by five children and 13 grandchildren.