Hopi Code Talker Recognition Day – April 23
In World War II, my great grandfather , PFC Perry Honani Sr and a group of Hopi men were assigned to the Army 81st Infantry “Wildcat” Division, Army Air Corps 380th Bombardment Group and 90th Bombardment Group. They served in the campaigns throughout the Peleliu, Anquar, Philippines and others along the Southeast Asia Pacific.
These Hopi farming men became known as the Hopi Code Talkers. They served our country, the United States of America in a vital way. Through the use of our language, they played a key role in the success of the campaigns in the Pacific theater – providing a secure means of communicating operational tasks and information throughout.
Our language, Hopi, speaks of life and legacy.
In their time, they did not know how important their role was. Over 60 years later, their families and people are learning their importance to lives and lands, that we may never meet or see. They did not only protect our country’s freedoms during World War II, they were key in freeing the lands in the Southeast Asia Pacific from Japanese strongholds.
While I was in the Navy, I was assigned to the USS McCampbell (DDG-85) and we sailed through the same waters, the Hopi Code Talkers traveled through such as the Midway. I remember silently sailing past Iwo Jima and other historical WWII sites. I thought a lot about my great-grandfather and grandfather, who also served in the Navy during that time, as our Captain read through the logs of that day. I learned so much about their sacrifice and the importance of their service to not only our country, but to other lives and cultures around the world that lived just as peacefully as we did. Farming like we did. I never felt so much pride and a lump of respect in my throat as I did then. The hair on my arms stood straight up, I looked at my name tag, “Honani”. Legacy.
To see the people on these lands thrive and their culture living, I thought, “There is life here and they helped.” To me, these men not only saved lives, they saved so many indigenous cultures. That is what Hopi does every day, preserving and fighting to keep our way of life. The Hopi Code Talkers helped to do that for others and it thrives today halfway around the world. Life, their way of life.
I am very proud of the legacy of the Hopi Code Talkers. They inspired many Hopi service members and veterans to continue to hold a stake in this country. I am so grateful for our Qua’ahs and my Quaq today and everyday for all that they have done and passing the strength on to us for this life. Asquali.
HOPI CODE TALKERS UNITED STATES ARMY “Wildcat” Division
- Private First Class Charles T. Lomakema “Tawayawma” Bear Strap Clan, Shungopavi Village
- Private First Class Floyd Dann, Sr. “Lomahuytiwa” Corn Clan, Moenkopi Village
- Private First Class Frank C. Chapella “Tuukwavi” Bear Clan Tewa Village
- Private First Class Percival Navenma “Masahoyniwa” Tobacco/Rabbit Clan, Mishungnovi Village
- Private First Class Perry Honani, Sr. “Wupatawa” Water Clan Shungopavi, Village
- Private First Class Travis S. Yaiva “Sikyawistiwa” Bear Clan, Bacavi Village
- Private First Class Warren R. Kooyaquaptewa “Shuute” Bear Clan Tewa Village
- Technical 5 Franklin Shupla “Awiino” Tobacco Clan
HOPI CODE TALKERS UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCE
- Sergeant Rex Pooyouma “Sekyung’yum’tewa” Corn Clan, Hotevilla Village, 380th Bombardment Group
- Private Orville Wadsworth “Dawahoynewa” Bear Clan, Shungopavi Village, 90th Bombardment Group