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Code Talkers Recognition Act

Sen. Mitch McConnell

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Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs be discharged from further consideration of S. 1035 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration.

Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report the bill by title.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

A bill (S. 1035) to authorize the presentation of commemorative medals on behalf of Congress to Native Americans who served as Code Talkers during foreign conflicts in which the United States was involved during the 20th century in recognition of the service of those Native Americans to the United States.

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.

Sen. Mitch McConnell

legislator photo

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and any statements relating to the measure be printed in the Record.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

The bill (S. 1035) was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, was read the third time, and passed, as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Code Talkers Recognition Act''. (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

The purpose of the medals authorized by this Act is to express recognition by the United States and citizens of the United States of, and to honor, the Native American Code Talkers who distinguished themselves in performing highly successful communications operations of a unique type that greatly assisted in saving countless lives and in hastening the end of World War I and World War II.

Congress finds that-- (1) Sioux Indians used their native languages, Dakota, Lakota, and Dakota Sioux, as code during World War II; (2) those individuals, who manned radio communications networks to advise of enemy actions, became known as the Sioux Code Talkers; (3) under some of the heaviest combat action, the Code Talkers worked around the clock to provide information that saved the lives of many Americans in war theaters in the Pacific and Europe, such as the location of enemy troops and the number of enemy guns; and (4) the Sioux Code Talkers were so successful that military commanders credit the code with saving the lives of countless American soldiers and being instrumental to the success of the United States in many battles during World War II.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a commemorative medal of appropriate design, to each Sioux Code Talker, including-- (1) Eddie Eagle Boy; (2) Simon Brokenleg; (3) Iver Crow Eagle, Sr.; (4) Edmund St. John; (5) Walter C. John; (6) John Bear King; (7) Phillip ``Stoney'' LaBlanc; (8) Baptiste Pumpkinseed; (9) Guy Rondell; (10) Charles Whitepipe; and (11) Clarence Wolfguts.

Congress finds that-- (1) the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and Congress declared war on Japan the following day; (2) the military code developed by the United States for transmitting messages had been deciphered by the Axis powers, and United States military intelligence sought to develop a new means to counter the enemy; (3) the Federal Government called on the Comanche Nation to support the military effort by recruiting and enlisting Comanche men to serve in the United States Army to develop a secret code based on the Comanche language; (4) at the time, the Comanches were-- (A) considered to be second-class citizens; and (B) discouraged from using their own language; (5) the Comanches of the 4th Signal Division became known as the ``Comanche Code Talkers'' and helped to develop a code using their language to communicate military messages during the D-Day invasion and in the European theater during World War II; (6) to the frustration of the enemy, the code developed by those Native Americans-- (A) proved to be unbreakable; and (B) was used extensively throughout the European war theater; (7) the Comanche language, discouraged in the past, was instrumental in developing 1 of the most significant and successful military codes of World War II; (8) the efforts of the Comanche Code Talkers-- (A) contributed greatly to the Allied war effort in Europe; (B) were instrumental in winning the war in Europe; and (C) saved countless lives; (9) only 1 of the Comanche Code Talkers of World War II remains alive today; and (10) the time has come for Congress to honor the Comanche Code Talkers for their valor and service to the United States.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a commemorative medal of appropriate design to each of the following Comanche Code Talkers of World War II, in recognition of contributions of those individuals to the United States: (1) Charles Chibitty. (2) Haddon Codynah. (3) Robert Holder. (4) Forrest Kassanovoid. (5) Willington Mihecoby. (6) Perry Noyebad. (7) Clifford Otitivo. (8) Simmons Parker. (9) Melvin Permansu. (10) Dick Red Elk. (11) Elgin Red Elk. (12) Larry Saupitty. (13) Morris Sunrise. (14) Willie Yackeschi.

Congress finds that-- (1) on April 6, 1917, the United States, after extraordinary provocations, declared war on Germany and entered World War I, the War to End All Wars; (2) at the time of that declaration of war, Indian people in the United States, including members of the Choctaw Nation, were not accorded the status of citizens of the United States; (3) without regard to this lack of citizenship, many members of the Choctaw Nation joined many members of other Indian tribes and nations in enlisting in the Armed Forces to fight on behalf of the United States; (4) members of the Choctaw Nation were-- (A) enlisted in the force known as the American Expeditionary Force, which began hostile actions in France in the fall of 1917; and (B) incorporated in a company of Indian enlistees serving in the 142d Infantry Company of the 36th Division; (5) a major impediment to Allied operations in general, and operations of the United States in particular, was the fact that the German forces had deciphered all codes used for transmitting information between Allied commands, leading to substantial loss of men and materiel during the first year in which the military of the United States engaged in combat in World War I; (6) because of the proximity and static nature of the battle lines, a method to communicate without the knowledge of the enemy was needed; (7) a commander of the United States realized the fact that he had under his command a number of men who spoke a native language; (8) while the use of such native languages was discouraged by the Federal Government, the commander sought out and recruited 18 Choctaw Indians to assist in transmitting field telephone communications during an upcoming campaign; (9) because the language used by the Choctaw soldiers in the transmission of information was not based on a European language or on a mathematical progression, the Germans were unable to understand any of the transmissions; (10) the Choctaw soldiers were placed in different command positions to achieve the widest practicable area for communications; (11) the use of the Choctaw Code Talkers was particularly important in-- (A) the movement of American soldiers in October of 1918 (including securing forward and exposed positions); (B) the protection of supplies during American action (including protecting gun emplacements from enemy shelling); and (C) in the preparation for the assault on German positions in the final stages of combat operations in the fall of 1918; (12) in the opinion of the officers involved, the use of Choctaw Indians to transmit information in their native language saved men and munitions, and was highly successful; (13) based on that successful experience, Choctaw Indians were withdrawn from frontline units for training in transmission of codes so as to be more widely used when the war came to an end; (14) the Germans never succeeded in breaking the Choctaw code; (15) that was the first time in modern warfare that the transmission of messages in a Native American language was used for the purpose of confusing the enemy; (16) this action by members of the Choctaw Nation-- (A) is another example of the commitment of Native Americans to the defense of the United States; and (B) adds to the proud legacy of such service; and (17) the Choctaw Nation has honored the actions of those 18 Choctaw Code Talkers through a memorial bearing their names located at the entrance of the tribal complex in Durant, Oklahoma.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a commemorative medal of appropriate design honoring the Choctaw Code Talkers.

Congress finds that-- (1) Sac and Fox Indians used their native language, Meskwaki, to transmit military code during Word War II; (2) those individuals, who manned radio communications networks to advise of enemy actions, became known as the Sac and Fox Code Talkers; and (3) under heavy combat action, the Code Talkers worked without sleep to provide information that saved the lives of many Americans.

The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a commemorative medal of appropriate design, to each of the following Sac and Fox Code Talkers of World War II, in recognition of the contributions of those individuals to the United States: (1) Frank Sanache. (2) Willard Sanache. (3) Dewey Youngbear. (4) Edward Benson. (5) Judie Wayne Wabaunasee. (6) Mike Wayne Wabaunasee. (7) Dewey Roberts. (8) Melvin Twin.

In this title, the term ``Indian tribe'' has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 4506).

(a) Presentation Authorized.--In addition to the commemorative medals authorized to be presented under sections 102, 202, 302, and 402, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall make appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of a commemorative medal of appropriate design to any other Native American Code Talker identified by the Secretary of Defense under subsection (b) who has not previously received a congressional commemorative medal. (b) Identification of Other Native American Code Talkers.-- (1) In general.--Any Native American member of the United States Armed Forces who served as a Code Talker in any foreign conflict in which the United States was involved during the 20th Century shall be eligible for a commemorative medal under this section. (2) Determination.--The Secretary of Defense shall-- (A) determine eligibility under paragraph (1); and (B) not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, establish a list of the names of individuals eligible to receive a medal under paragraph (1).

(a) Medals Awarded Posthumously.--A medal authorized by this Act may be awarded posthumously on behalf of, and presented to the next of kin or other representative of, a Native American Code Talker. (b) Design and Striking.-- (1) In general.--For purposes of any presentation of a commemorative medal under this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall strike gold medals with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury. (2) Designs emblematic of tribal affiliation.--The design of the commemorative medals struck under this Act for Native American Code Talkers who are members of the same Indian tribe shall be emblematic of the participation of the Code Talkers of that Indian tribe.

The Secretary of the Treasury may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the commemorative medals struck under this Act-- (1) in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may promulgate; and (2) at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses, and the cost of the bronze medal).

Medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.

(a) Authority to Use Fund Amounts.--There is authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such amounts as are necessary to strike and award medals authorized by this Act. (b) Proceeds of Sale.--All amounts received from the sale of duplicate bronze medals under section 504 shall be deposited in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.