Code talkers were American Indians who used their languages to help the United States military communicate in secret. This black-and-white photograph

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1 Navajo Code Talkers were small groups of American Indians who served in the United States armed forces in World War I ( ) and World War II ( ). Code talkers developed and used codes in Indian languages to send secret messages. Their efforts helped the United States and its allies win both wars. The best-known code talkers were Navajo radio operators during World War II. In 1942, the U.S. Marine Corps recruited 29 Navajo men to develop a code. More than 400 Navajo code talkers served in the war in the Pacific. On Japanese-held islands, such as Iwo Jima (now Iwo To) and Okinawa, the code talkers sent vital messages between front lines and command posts. The Japanese never broke the Navajo code. Philip Johnston, an engineer raised on a Navajo reservation where his father was a missionary, suggested that the Marines use the Navajo language as the basis for a code. He chose Navajo because it was an unwritten language unknown to most non-navajos. Its complex structure, difficult pronunciation, and singsong qualities made it nearly impossible to decipher. Code talkers used familiar words to represent U.S. military terms. When referring to a fighter plane, they used the Navajo word for hummingbird. A destroyer became a shark, and bombs were eggs. Code talkers also developed an alphabet based on English words to spell names. One or more Navajo words could stand for each letter. For example, the Navajo word for ant indicated the letter a, bear signaled b, cat was c, and so on. Several other American Indian groups also acted as code talkers. In World War I, about 19 Choctaw men served in the U.S. Army, sending and receiving messages based on the Choctaw language. During World War II, 17 Comanche men used their language for code in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

2 Code talkers were American Indians who used their languages to help the United States military communicate in secret. This black-and-white photograph shows two Navajo code talkers operating a radio during World War II ( ). The Navajo language was unknown to the Germans and Japanese and proved impossible for them to decipher.

3 Tuskegee «tuh SKEE gee» Airmen were a group of African Americans who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II ( ). The name Tuskegee Airmen is used most often to refer to combat aviators, but the group also included bombardiers, navigators, maintenance crews, and support staff. Members of the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African Americans to qualify as military pilots in any branch of the armed forces. Many became decorated war heroes. In 2007, the United States awarded the Tuskegee Airmen the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress. At the time of World War II, the United States War Department had a policy of racial segregation. Blacks were trained separately from whites and served in separate units. They were not allowed into elite military units. In 1941, under pressure from African American organizations and Congress, the Army Air Corps began accepting black men and admitting them into flight training. The men were trained at Tuskegee Army Air Base, near Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), a college for blacks in rural Alabama. The training program began in One of the first men to earn the wings of an Army Air Corps pilot was Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., who later became the first black general in the U.S. Air Force. Davis commanded the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the nation's first all-black squadron, which trained at Tuskegee. The 99th operated in North Africa. Davis later commanded the 332nd Fighter Group, which also trained at Tuskegee. The 332nd became known for its success in escorting bomber pilots to strategic bombing missions in Europe. Training at Tuskegee ended in A total of 992 pilots had graduated from the program. The success of the Tuskegee aviators helped lead to a decision by the United States government calling for an end to racial discrimination in the military. Well-known graduates of the Tuskegee program include Daniel James, Jr., who was the first black four-star general; and Coleman A. Young, who served as mayor of Detroit from 1973 to 1993.

4 The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American pilots, crew, and support staff that served in the Army Air Corps during World War II ( ). This photograph, taken in Ramitelli, Italy, in 1945, shows airmen at a tactical meeting.

5 Rosie the Riveter - Many American women entered the workforce in during World War II, as widespread male enlistment left huge holes in the industrial labor force. Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home. Rosie the Riveter, star of a government campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for the munitions industry (making weapons), became perhaps the most iconic image of working women during the war. While women worked in a variety of positions previously closed to them during World War II, the aviation industry saw the greatest increase in female workers. The munitions industry also heavily recruited women workers, as illustrated by the U.S. government s Rosie the Riveter propaganda campaign. Based in small part on a real-life munitions worker, but primarily a fictitious character, the strong, bandanna-clad Rosie became one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history, and the most iconic image of working women in the World War II era.

6 Rosie the Riveter Campaign poster used by the government to entice women to join the American workforce.

7 American Nisei Soldiers - During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Pacific coast states because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage. As the war progressed, many of the young Nisei, Japanese immigrants' children who were born with American citizenship, volunteered to serve in the United States military. Japanese Americans served in all the branches of the United States Armed Forces, including the United States Merchant Marines. The 100th Infantry Battalion was engaged in heavy action during the war taking part in multiple campaigns. The 100th was made up of Nisei who were originally members of the Hawaii National Guard. Their amazing military record and the patriotism established by the Varsity Victory Volunteers paved the way for the creation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. During WWII, Japanese immigrants (Issei), as well as second generation Japanese Nisei, worked for the U.S military as language instructors, employees in the Army Map Service, and behind the scenes in the Office of War Information, and the Office of Strategic Services. In the latter groups were primarily younger issei who fled their homeland to avoid political persecution. At the Office of War Information and the Office of Strategic Services, some made broadcasts to Japan, while others wrote propaganda leaflets urging Japanese troops to surrender or pamphlets dropped over Japan to weaken civilian morale.

8 A Japanese- American soldier with his mother in Florida, prepared to leave for war.

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