Nation Loses “International Treasure” In Passing Of Navajo Code Talker Akee

Navajo Code Talker Sergeant Major Dan Akee

The Navajo Nation lost a great treasure in the passing of Navajo Code Talker Dan Akee, Sr., on Friday, Oct. 14, at 9:50 a.m. “Dan Akee was not just a Navajo Nation treasure. He was an international treasure and icon whose service will stand as a testament to the freedom of all Americans,” said Navajo Nation President Begaye.

Sergeant Major Akee was 96 years old when he passed on. According to Akee’s son, Dan Akee Jr., his father was born just north of the Coalmine Chapter house on Nov. 11, 1919.

In 1944, Akee joined the Armed Forces when he heard they were recruiting Navajos. He became a member of the Code Talker team attached to the 4th Marine Division of the 25th Regiment. He took part in conflicts on four Pacific islands, and most notably Iwo Jima.

Akee’s son told that his father was at the Battle of Iwo Jima when six Marines, including Gila River Indian Community member Ira Hayes, raised the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi.

President Begaye and Vice President Nez established a great relationship with Dan Akee, Sr., when they assisted in renovating his house this past February. Akee had said it was his dream to move back into the house he built.

“We gutted the bathroom, removed the appliances, replaced windows and window frames and tore down walls,” President Begaye said. “With the help of local volunteer groups, Red Feather Development and the Tuba City Veterans Office, we were able to renovate his home from top to bottom.”

The president said it was an honor to assist the code talker. He also noted that Code Talker Akee rode with OPVP during this year’s Navajo Nation and Northern Navajo Nation fair parades.

Akee Jr., who is a Board Member of Code Talkers Association, said that he and his siblings would like to thank their father for his service to the United States. “My father always told us to be proud of speaking the Navajo language,” he said. “Always be careful of the words you speak as they are sacred, he would warn us,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said he was saddened to learn about the passing of Dan Akee, Sr., but commended his service to the Marines as a Navajo Code Talker.

“Our Navajo Code Talkers including Dan Akee, defended the United States against the interception of critical information and strategies by encoding messages into the Navajo Language. This code was never broken and is a great part of the proud history of our people,” he said. “He helped to move the nation forward and as such, we grieve the loss of our Navajo Code Talker,” President Begaye said. “We send our deepest condolences to his family and we will order all flags to be flown at half-staff on the day of his funeral.”

At this time, the Office of the President and Vice President is calling upon the Navajo people to keep the Akee family in their prayers.


  1. Travel in peace Dan. Thank you for your service to this nation. It will never be forgotten. I am so glad that you got to spend your final days on Mother Earth in the house you loved.

    I am also very sorry that you have to see what this country has degenerated into with protests about how the blacks are being treated. As a Native American you experienced more discrimination in your life than the backs ever thought about and yet you stepped up and helped save lives and protect the country. Once again, a heartfelt thank you and rest in peace.

  2. “Always be careful of the words you speak as they are sacred”. That is so powerful and appropriate for todays society to hear. We should all listen and learn from those words. To have a recording of what this man has seen. Thank you for your great service and thanks to those who helped to bring your home back to you. May God bless and assure that you RIP Code Talker Akee. I hope we find out the day of funeral so we can fly our flags at half-staff.

  3. It is in our nature to be at our best when things are at their worse.
    When this nation needed your patriotism, you volunteered and enlisted in its military and rose to the call in its hour of need. When this nation needed your skills, again you rose to the challenge at hand and answered her call.
    Your services and those of your people and your nation played a often overlooked but never diminished vital effort in bringing the war to a close.
    Often in life we seek to leave the world a better place then we found it.
    As you pass from this world to the next, look back with pride that you have succeeded where many have failed.
    Thank you for your service.


  4. Sergeant Major Akee, the Code Talkers and all the Marines who fought in the south pacific. You will never be forgotton for your sacrifices so that millions could enjoy freedom today. The Creator’s blessings on you and your brothers in arms.
    Semper Fi

    A Navy medical corpsman

  5. God rest the soul of Sgt. Major Akee. This country needs to remember heroes like him. Warmest condolences to his family and the people of the Navajo Nation. I’m very sure you were rightly proud of him.

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