Among the allied troops that came ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, were thirteen Comanches in the 4th Infantry Division, 4th Signal Company. Under German fire they laid communications lines and began sending messages in a form never before heard in Europe—coded Comanche. For the rest of World War II, the Comanche Code Talkers played a vital role in transmitting orders and messages in a code that was never broken by the Germans.
This book tells the full story of the Comanche Code Talkers for the first time. Drawing on interviews with all surviving members of the unit, their original training officer, and fellow soldiers, as well as military records and news accounts, William C. Meadows follows the group from their recruitment and training to their active duty in World War II and on through their postwar lives up to the present. He also provides the first comparison of Native American code talking programs, comparing the Comanche Code Talkers with their better-known Navajo counterparts in the Pacific and with other Native Americans who used their languages, coded or not, for secret communication. Meadows sets this history in a larger discussion of the development of Native American code talking in World Wars I and II, identifying two distinct forms of Native American code talking, examining the attitudes of the American military toward Native American code talkers, and assessing the complex cultural factors that led Comanche and other Native Americans to serve their country in this way.