Navajo Code Talkers Amendment 3231

1.   Introduction
2.   Amendment No. 3231

1. Introduction

Amendment No. 3231 occurred from the proceedings and debates of the 106th Congress, 2nd session, Thursday, June 8, 2000. The U.S. Senate met at 9:30 a.m. and was called to order by the President pro tempore Mr. Thurmond. It then opened with a prayer from guest Chaplain, Rev. Philip A. Smith, President of Providence College, Providence, RI. Next, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by The Honorable Craig Thomas, a Senator from the State of Wyoming. The Senate then started to debate the Bill S. 2549, Amendment No. 3231, and Amendment No. 3232, respectively. Bill S. 2549, concerned the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2001. Amendment No. 3232 concerned the revising of the fee structure for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The following pdf files are the proceedings and debates of the 106th Congress, 2nd session. Amendment No. 3231 occurred on pdf files pages 2 and 3.

The proceedings and debates of the 106th Congress, second session:

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(Purpose: To authorize the President to award the gold and silver medals on behalf of the Congress to the Navajo Code Talkers, in recognition of their contributions to the Nation)

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senator BINGAMAN, I offer an amendment that would authorize the President to award gold and silver medals on behalf of Congress to the Navaho Code Talkers in recognition of their contributions to the Nation during World War II.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.

The legislative clerk read as follows;

The Senator from Michigan [Mr. Levin], for Mr. BINGAMAN, for himself and Mr. WARNER, proposes an amendment numbered 3231.

The amendment is as follows:

At the end of title X, insert the following:


(a)     FINDINGS.覧Congress finds that覧
  (1)   on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor and war was declared by Congress on the following day;
  (2)   the military code developed by the United States for transmitting messages had been deciphered by the Japanese, and a search was made by United States Intelligence to develop new means to counter the enemy;
  (3)   the United States Government called upon the Navajo Nation to support the military effort by recruiting and enlisting 29 Navajo men to serve as Marine Corps Radio Operators;
  (4)   the number of Navajo enlistees later increased to more than 350;
  (5)   at the time, the Navajos were often treated as second-class citizens, and they were a people who were discouraged from using their own native language;
  (6)   the Navajo Marine Corps Radio Operators, who became known as the “Navajo Code Talkers”, were used to develop a code using their native language to communicate military messages in the Pacific;
  (7)   to the enemy鋳s frustration, the code developed by these Native Americans proved to be unbreakable, and was used extensively throughout the Pacific theater;
  (8)   the Navajo language, discouraged in the past, was instrumental in developing the most significant and successful military code of the time;
  (9)   at Iwo Jima alone, the Navajo Code Talkers passed more than 800 error-free messages in a 48-hour period;
  (10)   use of the Navajo Code was so successful, that覧
          (A)   military commanders credited it in saving the lives of countless American soldiers and in the success of the engagements of the United States in the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa;
          (B)   some Code Talkers were guarded by fellow Marines, whose role was to kill them in case of imminent capture by the enemy; and
          (C)   the Navajo Code was kept secret for 23 years after the end of World War II;
  (11)   following the conclusion of World War II, the Department of Defense maintained the secrecy of the Navajo Code until it was declassified in 1968; and
  (12)   only then did a realization of the sacrifice and valor of these brave Native Americans emerge from history.
(b)     CONGRESSIONAL MEDALS AUTHORIZED.覧 To express recognition by the United States and its citizens in honoring the Navajo Code Talkers, who distinguished themselves in performing a unique, highly successful communications operation that greatly assisted in saving countless lives and hastening the end of World War II in the Pacific, the President is authorized覧
  (1)   to award to each of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, or a surviving family member, on behalf of the Congress, a gold medal of appropriate design, honoring the Navajo Code Talkers; and
  (2)   to award to each person who qualified as a Navajo Code Talker (MOS 642), or a surviving family member, on behalf of the Congress, a silver medal of appropriate design, honoring the Navajo Code Talkers.
(c)     DESIGN AND STRIKING.覧For purposes of the awards authorized by subsection (b), the Secretary of the Treasury (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”) shall strike gold and silver medals with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.
(d)     DUPLICATE MEDALS.覧The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the medals struck pursuant to this section, under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, and at a price sufficient to cover the costs thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses, and the cost of the medals.
(e)     NATIONAL MEDALS.覧The medals struck pursuant to this section are national medals for purposes of chapter 51, of title 31, United States Code.
(f)     AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS.覧 There is authorized to be charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, not more than $30,000, to pay for the costs of the medals authorized by this section.
(g)     PROCEEDS OF SALE.覧Amounts received from the sale of duplicate medals under this section shall be deposited in the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to be added as a cosponsor of the amendment.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Without further debate, the amendment is agreed to.

The amendment (No. 3231) was agreed to.

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.

Mr. WARNER. I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, let me expand on this and say how much I respect Senator BINGAMAN for bringing this to the attention of the Senate and incorporating this most well-deserved recognition on behalf of these individuals.

Again, with brief service in the concluding months of the war, particularly while I was in the Navy, the Marine Corps utilized these individuals a great deal. What they would do is get on the walkie-talkies in the heat of battle and in their native tongue communicate the orders of the officers and noncommissioned officers to forward and other positions, subjecting themselves to the most intense elements of combat at the time. They were very brave individuals. They performed a remarkable service. Here we are, some 56 years after the intensity of the fighting in the Pacific, which began in 1941, honoring them. They were magnificent human beings, and the men in the forward units of combat appreciated what they did. I salute our distinguished colleague. I am delighted to be a cosponsor.

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I join my good friend, Senator WARNER, in thanking and commending the men for their gallant service during World War II and to thank Senator BINGAMAN for remembering them and having us as a body remember them. That is a real service, too. We are both grateful to Senator BINGAMAN.

Mr. WARNER. In other words, the enemy simply did not, if they picked up this language with their listening systems, have the vaguest idea. There are stories of the confusion of the enemy: They didn鋳t know who it was on the beach, what was coming at them. It was remarkable.

Mr. LEVIN. It is a great bit of history, and it is great to be reminded of it.

Mr. WARNER. Indeed.

Mr. LEVIN. I hope it has been written up because it is not familiar to me. I am now going to become familiar with it.

Mr. WARNER. There were quite a few stories written about them. They were self-effacing, humble people, proud to be identified with their tribes. They went back into the sinews of America, as so many of the men and women did, to take up their responsibilities at home.

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Creator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Dated Created: 05/22/2010
Version: 1.1
Updated: 06/02/2011
Curator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Resource(s): United States of America, Congressional Record, Proceedings and Debates of the 106th Congress, Second Session, Thursday, June 8, 2000, Vol. 146, No. 70
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