Navajo Code Talker Jack Jones introduces himself by describing his disabilities. A bomb explosion during World War II injured his left eye, took away his sense of smell and damaged his hearing. Jones apologizes in advance for his hearing difficulties.
But the 93-year-old Jones needs little prompting to talk about his war experiences. He was 19-years-old when he left his home in Montezuma Creek, Utah to join the Marines and was assigned to serve with the Navajo Code Talkers.
Jones and his unit practiced the 600-plus-word code developed by the “first 29” until they could use it flawlessly. “We didn’t have any name for military weapons,” Jones said. “So names were given, such as a bomb, we called a chicken egg and a grenade we called a potato.”
Before his journey across the Pacific began, Jones took to heart the advice of his Navajo elders.
“They said, you’re going to war. You have to come back in good health and good mind, wherever you go,” Jones said. “I said to myself, I’m going to a foreign country and I have to come back. So I jerked my hair like that and said, I’m going to come back to this country, right here. I was standing on the coast of San Diego.”