photo courtesy of Barbara & Kenneth Goodin Collection
Fort Benning, Georgia, 1941
Front Row, left to right: Roderick “Dick” Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Larry Saupitty, Melvin Permansu, Willie Yackeschi, Charles Chibitty and Willington Mihecoby. Back Row, left to right: Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyebad, Ralph Wahnee, Haddon Codynah, Robert Holder, Albert Nahquaddy, Clifford Ototivo and Forrest Kassanavoid. (not pictured: Elgin Red Elk and Anthony Tabbitite)
The Comanche Code Talkers were an elite group of young men who were fluent in the Comanche language and used that knowledge, along with the training they were given by the Army, to send critical messages that confused the enemy during World War II. Seventeen young men were trained in communications, but only fourteen were deployed to the European theater.
Serving overseas were Roderick “Dick” Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Larry Saupitty, Melvin Permansu, Willie Yackeschi, Charles Chibitty, Willington Mihecoby, Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyebad, Haddon Codynah, Robert Holder, Clifford Otitivo, Forrest Kassanavoid and Elgin Red Elk. They were recruited from Cache, Cement, Cyril, Fletcher, Indiahoma, Lawton and Walters. Albert Nahquaddy, Anthony Tabbytite and Ralph Wahnee, who trained for the same role, did not serve overseas.
In 1989 the French Government honored the three survivors of the group for their important contribution with the “Chevalier de L’Order National du Merite.” As of 2006 The United States government has not offered any special recognition for the group. We, as Comanche people, honor them always.
For more information on the Comanche Code Talkers, contact The Comanche National Museum (www.comanchemuseum.com) or the Research Room of the Lawton Public Library, 104 S.W. 4th Street, Lawton OK 73501 (580-581-3450, ext. #6). In the Library there are file folders with newspaper clippings that can be photo-copied for a small fee.
In 1991 and 1992 the Southwestern Oklahoma Historical Society published an interview with Roderick “Dick” Red Elk in their publication Prairie Lore. Published in two parts, you may contact PrairieLore@aol.com for current ordering information.
In 2002 Dr. William C. Meadows published a book titled "The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II" that tells the story of our Code Talkers. You can order a copy for $24.95 plus shipping from the University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin TX 78713-7819. Call toll free 1-800-252-3206 for the current shipping charges.
When contacting the Lawton Public Library or the Southwestern Oklahoma Historical Society, please tell them you learned about them through the internet site of the Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee. Vra.