Silversmith, Joe Antonio: Navajo Nation mourns death of another code talker

Window Rock Arizona (AP) March 2011

Joe Antonio Silversmith, a member of the Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, has died. He was 86.

Navajo Nation officials say Silversmith died Monday at his home in Coolidge, N.M. No cause of death was immediately available.

Tribal President Ben Shelly ordered flags on the Navajo Nation Nation to be flown at half-staff from March 2-5 to honor Silversmith.

Silversmith joined the 297 Marine Platoon at age 18 and served in the South Pacific from March 1943 to 1946.

In 2001, Silversmith received the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor for serving in World War II.

He is survived by his wife, Ramona, two daughters and six grandchildren.

SilversmithÂ’s funeral was held March 5th in Thoreau, N.M.