Chichiltah Code Talker passes
By Cindy Yurth and Bill Donovan
Kee Etsicitty talked a lot.
“He used to say, ‘If you want to make friends, you have to talk to people,’” recalled his only son Kurt, 51. “He had a lot of friends.”
But one word Etsicitty seldom used was “I.”
“He always said ‘we,’” Kurt Etsicitty said.
When people credited Kee and the other Code Talkers with winning World War II, he was swift to correct them.
“He would say, ‘We all helped,’” Kurt recalled. “He said, ‘We never would have gotten to the islands without the Navy. There were people who were back home making ammunition, they helped. Even my grandmother — she used to go outside every morning and pray.’”
Kee Etsicitty, last of his platoon and one of only about 20 remaining Navajo Code Talkers, passed away about 9:30 Tuesday morning, July 21. He was 93.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup, 415 E. Green Ave. Burial will be at the family plot in Cousins, N.M., followed by a reception at the family home.
Kurt said he never knew his unassuming father, a maintenance man for the BIA school in Chichiltah, was a war hero until Kurt was in high school.
“I saw a picture of him with some other guys standing in Bougainville,” Kurt recalled. “It sent chills up my spine.”
When Kurt told his father he was brave, Kee was one again swift to correct him.
“He said, ‘I was scared the whole time!’” Kurt said. “‘I was like a chicken on two legs!’”