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April 2, 2024, 10:15 am
Politics, Regional, World

Saipan prepares permanent memorial for Navajo code talkers and Marianas marine scouts

Georgina Ledua
Digital Media Specialist |
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U.S. Marines crawl past each other under enemy fire during the Battle of Saipan

A significant tribute to the Navajo code talkers and the Marianas marine scouts, who played vital roles during the Battle of Saipan, is set to become a permanent fixture on the island of Saipan.

The Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council have recently given their endorsement to Governor Arnold Palacios’ request for funding to establish the memorial, highlighting their recognition of the sacrifices made by these groups.

The memorial commemorates the contributions of both the Navajo code talkers and the Chamorro and Carolinian marine scouts during Operation Forager, which took place from June 15 to July 9, 1944, and continued until September 1945.

President Ronald Reagan formally recognized the Navajo code talkers’ significance on August 14, 1982, by declaring it National Navajo Code Talkers Day.

He acknowledged their instrumental role in the Pacific War, particularly from 1942 to 1945.

In a letter of support to Carmen Cantor, assistant secretary for the Office of Insular and International Affairs, the Saipan council emphasized the pivotal role played by the code talkers in the Battle of Saipan.

During Operation Forager, the Navajo soldiers’ ability to encrypt messages perplexed the Japanese command, contributing to the confusion regarding the location and movements of the troops.

Following the intense bombardment of Saipan by the U.S. Marines, Army, and Navy, a select group of local civilians were conscripted into the U.S. Marine battalion.

Their primary responsibility was to ensure the safety of U.S. soldiers and local civilians in the aftermath of Operation Forager.

These civilian marines were chosen for their intimate knowledge of the terrain, familiarity with Japanese military infrastructure such as tunnels and caves, awareness of Japanese gun emplacement locations, and proficiency in the Japanese language.