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"A loudspeaker came on. They said "The war is over! The Japanese have surrendered." And everybody got out of their bunks and got started yelling." (Audio Interview, part 4, 00:39)

   Alfred K. Newman, Sr.
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division
Service Location: San Diego, California; New Caledonia; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Bougainville Island (Solomon Islands); Guam (Mariana Islands); Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater
Rank: Private
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Born on the Navajo Reservation in Coolidge, New Mexico, Alfred K. Newman was sent to the Rehoboth Mission Boarding School at the age of eight, where he was forbidden from speaking Navajo. Serving as a member of the Code Talker team with the 3rd Marine Division, Newman endured months of secretive training, but ultimately spent more time in combat than he did employing his code breaking skills. When news broke of the war’s end, Newman found himself like many others, slowly waiting for transport home. On his return from war, he experienced little support or praise for his service as a Navajo Code Talker. Nevertheless, Newman views his time in the military, and the willingness of the Navajo to serve their country, as worthy of remembrance.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
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Download: audio(4) (207 min.)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Growing up on the reservation in Coolidge; going to one room school and learning mostly Spanish instead of English; moved to Rehoboth Mission Boarding School at the age of age of eight; learning English but not allowed to speak Navajo, punished for speaking Navajo. (05:51) Interest in the Marines; his own knowledge about the history of the Marines; initially hearing about Pearl Harbor; thoughts on how long the war might last. (03:31) Navajo code training; not allowed to keep any notes during training; trained with 68 Navajo Marines; no initial communication about training being for a secret mission; examples of Navajo codes and English translation. (10:33)
Being part of the Joint Assault troops in Guam; coming ashore with Japanese enemy fire upon them; working with another Navajo code talker and navy officer; navy officer hit with shrapnel in his hand; leaves Newman and other marine to return to headquarters on their own. (08:07) Other than briefly in Guam was unable to use code talking skills; on the front line and there was little time available to do it properly (00:38) Hearing about the end of the war; celebrations using live ammunition; extended wait to return home because of high volume of troops and personnel heading back to the United States. (04:08)
Training before returning to civilian life; discrimination based service as a code talker and being Native American; no regrets related to serving during World War II; Navajo people willing to help in the war effort despite mistreatment in the past. (06:04)  

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  October 26, 2011
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