PUBLIC NEWS RELEASES
Young Marines units from across the nation traveled to Hawaii for 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
 
One hundred forty one youth members of the Young Marines from nine states traveled to Hawaii to participate in the 73rd anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration.
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Red Carpet Event for the Young Marines Documentary Premiere Followed by PBS Airing in KY
Friday, October 31, 2014
 
The national premiere of a 30-minute documentary film, “Generations of Honor: A Year with the Young Marines”, will take place at the historic Kentucky Theatre. The film will air on PBS in KY on Veteran’s Day.
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Young Marines Alumni Association is Launched
Monday, October 27, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization now has an Alumni Association for its more than 60,000 former members. Former YM SgtMajor Edgar Huff, who was the 2004 National Young Marine of the Year, has been named executive director of the new association.
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Young Marines Wins its 6th Dept. of Defense Award for Anti-Drug Education
Monday, October 20, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization’s Drug Demand Reduction Program is the winner of the 2014 Annual Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Education.
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GLOCK donates $50,000 to the Young Marines at the 2014 AUSA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
 
The Young Marines received a $50,000 donation from GLOCK on Monday, Oct. 13, at the Association of United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Expo.
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American Legion Child Welfare Foundation Recipients Share Success of Grant
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
 
Joe Lusignan, Deputy Director, West Coast Operations of the Young Marines, discusses "Closing the gate on Drugs" Drug Demand Reduction kits with American Legion family members during the eighth annual Children & Youth Conference in Indianapolis.
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223 Young Marines meet World War II Navajo Code Talkers
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
 
Two hundred twenty three members of the Young Marines including registered adult leaders traveled to Window Rock, AZ, to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day which was Thursday, Aug. 14. Seventeen veteran Navajo Code Talkers attended.
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Scott Riley of the Columbus Young Marines named ‘National Adult Volunteer of the Year’
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named Scott Riley the “National Adult Volunteer of the Year” at the annual Adult Leaders Conference held in Washington D.C. Riley is the Unit Commander of Columbus Young Marines from Division 5 located in Colu
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Young Marines announces ‘National Unit of the Year’ - Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit from Knoxville, TN
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the “National Unit of the Year” – Division Three’s Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit in Knoxville, TN, under the command of Virgil L. Young, Jr.
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National Executive Director and CEO Mike Kessler announces future retirement from the Young Marines
Thursday, August 07, 2014
 
Mike Kessler, National Executive Director and CEO of the Young Marines, announces his retirement which will take place in late 2015.
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The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization took its drug demand reduction efforts to the next level by launching a new program titled, “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often - the ga
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The DEA and Young Marines present Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six units
Monday, June 16, 2014
 
The DEA and Young Marines announce Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award winners. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
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Blake DeWeese named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Friday, June 13, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the 2014 - 2015 “National Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Blake W. DeWeese, 18, of Beaverton, OR. As National Young Marine of the Year, DeWeese will travel throughout the country representing the Y
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Young Marines grateful for a grant from American Legion Child Welfare Foundation
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
 
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided a $90,000 grant to the Young Marines youth organization for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in its campaigns to reduce the demand for drugs through education.
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The Young Marines News Network wins second Telly Award
Monday, April 28, 2014
 
The 35th annual Telly Awards have been announced, and a Nov., 2013, broadcast of the Young Marines News Network won a 2014 bronze Telly in the online video category.
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Honorary Young Marine Zach Veach, teen race car driver, wins Indy Lights
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization salutes teen race car driver Zach Veach, 19, on his first place win in the season opener of the Indy Lights race held Sunday, March 30, in St. Petersburg, FL. He won by leading every lap of the race.
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Ten Young Marines Return From a Very Special ‘Reunion of Honor’ on Guam and Iwo Jima
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
 
Young Marines traveled to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual “Reunion of Honor.” Each year, American and Japanese veterans and their families come together for remembrances of their fallen brothers and to recall the fierce battles.
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Twenty Young Marines to participate in United Nations Conference
Thursday, March 06, 2014
 
Twenty youth members of the Young Marines youth organization are traveling from across the country to New York City on March 8 – 12, 2014, to participate in a conference held by the United Nations.
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Young Marines names six Division Young Marines of the Year
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named six division winners in its most prestigious award - the “Division Young Marines of the Year.”
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SELECTED ARTICLE
Young Marines Meet Living History During Navajo Code Talkers Day
Thursday, August 22, 2013
 

More than 100 members of the Young Marines  traveled to Window Rock, AZ, to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day which was Wednesday, Aug. 14. Twenty four veteran Navajo code talkers attended.

Navajo Code Talked followed by the Young MarinesEvery year since 2006, Young Marines from across the country gather in Window Rock, AZ, to honor and give praise to the Navajo code talkers from WWII. The Young Marines’ theme for 2013 was “Teaching Today’s Youth about Yesterday’s Heroes.”

“It was a privilege to educate the Young Marines about the role of the Navajo code talkers and give them the opportunity to meet these living heroes,” said Michael Smith, coordinator of Navajo Code Talker Day and son of Samuel Smith, Navajo code talker.

The Young Marines not only met code talkers, they participated for three days acting as escorts for the very special veterans. They also cleaned up Veteran’s Memorial Park, attended a class about the Navajo code talkers, set up flags and marched in the Navajo Nation parade as well as provided gifts for the Navajo code talkers and their wives. The Navajo Nation put on a cultural class especially for the Young Marines, and the next day, the Young Marines visited the Navajo Nation Zoo and the Navajo Museum.

The following units attended:

  • Hamilton – Nottingham, MD
  • Quantico – Manassas, VA
  • South East County - Seal Beach, CA
  • Col. Wesley Fox – Sterling, VA
  • Mountain View – Highlands Ranch, CO
  • Douglas County – Aurora, CO
  • Monument – Colorado Springs, CO
  • Temecula Valley – Winchester, CA
  • Chandler Mustang -  Chandler, AZ
  • Southland – Montclair, CA
  • Columbia River – Kennewick, WA
  • Flat Irons – Thornton, CO
  • Poudre River – Greeley, CO
  • Mile High – Aurora, CO
  • Pueblo – Pueblo, CO
  • LCpl Kenneth Worley – Costa Mesa, CA
  • Pikes Peak – Colorado Springs, CO

“It’s rare to meet people who have had such an impact on our lives,” said Brenda McNulty, Unit Commander, Mountain View unit of the Young Marines and organizer of the event. “These men are more than just WWII heroes. They are dear friends to the Young Marines.”

Top secret

Navajo Code TalkersDuring the early months of WWII, Japanese intelligence experts broke every code the U.S. forces devised. They were able to anticipate American actions at an alarming rate. With plenty of fluent English speakers at their disposal, they sabotaged messages and issued false commands in order to ambush Allied troops.

To combat this, increasingly complex codes were initiated. At Guadalcanal, military leaders complained that sending and receiving these codes required hours of encryption and decryption—up to two and a half hours for a single message. They rightly argued the military needed a better way to communicate.

World War I veteran Philip Johnston suggested that the U.S. military develop a code based on the Navajo language which was unwritten. The son of a missionary to the Navajos, Johnston was one of the few non-Navajos who spoke their language fluently.

Johnston had been brought up on a Navajo reservation, and he knew that many Navajo words have different meanings depending on context. Once he demonstrated to the Marine Corps how effective a Navajo-based code would be in thwarting intelligence breaches, the Marines set out to sign up Navajos as radio operators.

In 1942, 29 Navajos ranging in age from 15 to 35, created the first U.S. military code based on their indigenous language. It started with a vocabulary of 200 terms but tripled in quantity by the time World War II ended. The Navajo code talkers could pass messages in as little as 20 seconds.

The code was so complex that not even native Navajo speakers could comprehend it. The code also proved unique, because once they were on frontlines of the war, the Navajo soldiers weren’t allowed to write it down. Everything was memorized.

During the first two days of the Battle of Iwo Jima, the code talkers transmitted 800 messages with no mistakes. Their efforts played a key role in the U.S. winning the Battle of Iwo Jima as well as the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa.

In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members. As of 1945, 540 Navajos served as Marines, 420 as code talkers.

The Navajo soldiers’ unbreakable code saved thousands of lives and helped end WWII.

The Navajo code talkers may have been World War II heroes, but the public didn’t realize it, because the code remained a top military secret for decades following the war.

The Navajo code talkers’ contributions to the U.S. military during World War II became better known with the release of the 2002 movie, “Windtalkers,” starring Nicolas Cage. Although the movie received mixed reviews, it exposed the public to World War II’s Native American heroes.

Reactions from participating Young Marines

Young Marines marching in Navajo Code Talker Day parade“I am so grateful that my son, Young Marines PFC. Matthew Slater, had an opportunity to experience a living part of our national history,” said Joanne Slater, parent of a Douglas County Young Marine. “These are memories that he will be able to share with his family and friends and someday maybe even his own children.”

“I have two grandfathers who served in WWII, so I have always been interested the war’s history,” said PFC Carson Hague, Douglas County Young Marines and a 7th grader at Ave Maria Catholic School in Parker, Colorado . “I also have a second cousin who is a Navajo Indian. The Navajo Code Talker Day was the perfect opportunity for me to explore not only part of my own family history but also a rare opportunity to meet with the few WWII Code Talkers that remain. Also, I got to meet many Young Marines for around the country.”

“I will always remember this trip. It changed my life,” said Young Marine PFC Noah Anderson, Douglas County, Aurora, CO, Young Marines.

“The reason I enjoyed the weekend was seeing the smiles on the Navajo code talkers faces and letting them know how much they are still appreciated,” said YM LCpl Xander Tamblyn, 9, Mountain View, Highlands Ranch, CO, Young Marines. 

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit http://www.youngmarines.com/.

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Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899
arichardson@gr-pr.com