Code Talker Brown passes at 97
For the third time in less than a month, the Navajo Nation is mourning the passing of another Navajo Code Talker. William Tully Brown Sr., 97, died on June 3.
Described by his friends as a gentle warrior, Brown was born on Black Mountain near Cottonwood, Arizona. He lived there for several years maintaining a traditional Navajo lifestyle, herding sheep and taking care of horses. It was there that he found his passion for horses, according to family members.
He was going to the Shiprock Boarding School when he saw a big truck approaching him. He said there were several young Navajos aboard. Also in the truck was the superintendent of the Shiprock Agency, who told him that the boys were going to join the Marines. Brown jumped in and was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps on Nov. 4, 1944.
Unlike some code talkers, family members said Brown liked to talk about his war experiences. For example, when he was a trainee at Camp Pendleton, he was required to learn the Navajo code, as well as take swimming lessons. He was assigned his own guard and was told he could not talk to the other enlistees.