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Archive for Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Navajo Code Talker to receive degree from KU 60 years after departure

November 7, 2012

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Kansas University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will present a degree next week to a World War II Navajo Code Talker who had to withdraw from KU 60 years ago after three years of studies.

Chester Nez, 91, will receive his degree during a ceremony set for 11 a.m. Monday in the Lied Center Pavilion. The event is part of Native Heritage Month activities at KU, and it will be free and open to anyone.

Nez, a Marine veteran, left KU in 1952 after three years as a student, unable to pay to complete his education after he exhausted his GI Bill funding. He left for New Mexico to find work.

What no one knew then was that he had been one of the original 29 Code Talkers in the all-Navajo 382nd Marine Platoon, who created a code language that would be used by a total of 420 platoon members during the war.

According to a KU release, Nez is the lone living member of those original 29.

Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback will also take part in the ceremony Monday, and Nez will receive gifts from the city of Lawrence, the KU Alumni Association, Haskell Indian Nations University and the Native Faculty and Staff Council at KU.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the degree presented to Chester Nez will not be honorary.

Comments

benbahe 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you Mr. Nez for OUR freedom.............. With this in mind, don't build the road on the sacred ground. thank you.

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Bob-RJ Burkhart 1 year, 5 months ago

Kansas VFW District 2 "Partners in Patriotism" Guide for further discussion:

[A] The KU NROTC Color Guard will provide the color guard for this event ...

[B] To honor these hidden hometown heroes, VFW Post 6654 in De Soto (KS) dedicated the USS Neosho (Ne/Water & oshos/clear) ship's bell display on 4-July-2010: http://futurethought.pbworks.com/w/page/24859163/Let%20Freedom%20of%20Influence%20Ring

[C] Julia & Ernest Thompson Seton's 1936 "Gospel of the Redman" may have inspired forming this highly-effective influential WWII USMC unit: http://futurethought.pbworks.com/w/page/14011607/Gospel%20of%20the%20Redman

HOAC-BSA Troop 54 Eagle Scout Casey Jones attaches the clanger to the bell from the USS Neosho before the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony and dedication of the bell at the VFW Post #6654 in De Soto on July 4, 2010.

HOAC-BSA Troop 54 Eagle Scout Casey Jones attaches the clanger to the bell from the USS Neosho before the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony and dedication of the bell at the VFW Post #6654 in De Soto on July 4, 2010. by Bob-RJ Burkhart

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irtnog2001 1 year, 5 months ago

Thats one way to get those graduation rates up!

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irtnog2001 1 year, 5 months ago

And don't forget to pay those parking citations before you pick up your diploma!

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Shardwurm 1 year, 5 months ago

That will be $162,842 with interest. You can borrow it at 7.9 percent if you wish.

Good thing you got it before next year's tuition hike.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you. You helped save us. Good job KU!

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pizzapete 1 year, 5 months ago

It's great to see that KU is doing this. It's a long overdue recognition of the huge contribution these guys made to help the US win World War II. Their code was never broken and they allowed our troops to communicate freely without the enemy ever knowing just what we had planned. I hate to think what the world might look like today without their involvement and sacrifice in the war effort. These guys were and are true American heroes.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 5 months ago

!!!!!

This is wonderful news!

I am so glad he will get a degree, and a full one at that, he certainly earned it.

could we get a pronouncer on his last name?

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Starlight 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow, lone living member of the group responsible for one of the country's greatest weapons in the war. A real national treasure and a KU degree holder. My special thanks for creating the code that helped my father in battle.

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Ralph Gage 1 year, 5 months ago

Mr. Nez has a wonderful book, "Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by one of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII." Written with Judith Schiess Avila. Really neat. Wish I knew how to get an autograph on a Kindle book!

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