The Navajo reservation was an isolated place. The Native Americans who lived there had a language that only they could understand. In the 1940s, life on the reservation was a world apart from the life of the average American.
Then in 1942, some young men from the reservation were asked to make the biggest change of their lives. They were asked to leave the reservation and their traditional lifestyle. They were asked to take on new jobs and go to work, not just in another part of the United States, but thousands of miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
These young men were recruited by the Marines for World War II. They would become the Navajo Code Talkers. Their job would be to send secret messages in code. It would be a demanding job, and only young men with the right qualifications were selected. The men chosen for training had to be fluent in both their native Navajo language and in English. They also had to be physically fit and strong.
They traveled to California and began, like every other Marine, with basic training. After basic training, they went on to specialized training in communications. They learned to operate radios and switchboards. They learned to lay cable. They trained to be battlefield messengers.