Native American Code Talkers were finally recognized and honored in a ceremony when congressional leaders formally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to 256 code talkers representing the service of 33 tribes. The celebration took place on November, 20, 2013 in Washington, D. C.
Three of the medals went to the families of Kiowa Code Talkers Leonard Cozad Sr, James Paddlety and John Tsatoke.
Code talkers were represented by tribal delegations, many in traditional dress, who packed Emancipation Hall. They represented 33 tribes from states including Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Cozad, Paddlety, and Tsatoke, in the 689th Field Artillary Battalion, XX Corps, under General Walker and Patton in the third army, used the Kiowa language for communication transmissions.
Although no formal training or encoding was used, the periodic use of such battlefield communications undoubtedly helped to minimize the danger of successful enemy interception.
Only 152 Congressional Gold medals have been awarded since 1776. The first was awarded to General George Washington.
“We can best honor these great warriors among us not just with well-deserved and long overdue recognition,” Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr said, “but also with our own efforts to continue leveraging our nation’s diversity and to forever honor our veterans.”