theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

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January 25, 2013

Diversity lecture scheduled at ECU

Ada —  

A significant glimpse into World War II and Native American history can be experienced as Navajo Code Talker Bill Toledo will share his story during the fifth annual Louise Young Diversity Lecture at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Ataloa Theatre of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts on the East Central University campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

During the early months of World War II, Japanese intelligence experts broke every code the United States forces devised. They were able to anticipate American actions at an alarming rate due to having plenty of fluent English speakers at their disposal.

The Japanese sabotaged messages and issued false commands which led to the ambush of Allied troops. As a result, complex codes were utilized, but sending and receiving these codes took hours of encryption and decryption.

Enter Phillip Johnston, a civilian living in California. Johnston, a son of a Protestant missionary, had the answer. He grew up on the Navajo reservation and was one of fewer than 30 outsiders fluent in their difficult language.

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