WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in Arizona.
Navajo Nation officials say Teddy Draper Sr. died Thursday at age 96 in the small city of Prescott.
Tribal officials say Draper lived in Chinle, Arizona.
The Spokesman-Review profiled Draper in 2002, when he and Bill Toledo, 78, were the featured guests at that year’s Julyamsh Powwow.
Draper and other Navajos followed in the footsteps of the original 29 who developed the code.
He was part of the 5th Marine Division, fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima and received a Purple Heart as well as a Congressional Silver Medal.
Funeral plans were pending and a list of Draper’s survivors wasn’t immediately available Thursday.
Draper’s death came nine days after another Navajo Code Talker, George B. Willie Sr., died in Arizona at age 92.
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