An additional seven Ho-Chunk veterans approved as Code Talkers

By Ken Luchterhand

Seven more Ho-Chunk veterans have been approved to be recognized as Code Talkers.
The Ho-Chunk Nation now officially has 14 World War II Veterans listed with the Department of Defense as Code Talkers.
To her knowledge, the Ho-Chunk Nation may have the most registered code talkers with the Department of Defense, said Sandra Winneshiek of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, who worked toward the designation of the veterans.
The World War II veterans approved for the Code Talker designation are: Alvin Blackdeer, U.S. Navy; Donald Blackdeer, U.S. Army; Irvin Blackdeer, U.S. Army; George Green, KIA- U.S. Army; Donald Greengrass, U.S. Army; Adam Littlebear Jr., KIA-U.S. Army; and Alfred O. Stacy, U.S. Army.
Families of each of the veterans have been notified.
“The first seven were easy,” Winneshiek said. “These seven took a lot more work.”
She was able to obtain a picture of the Code Talkers, which included the seven, to verify their duties during World War II
Code talkers are veterans who used native languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages.
On March 15, 2016, Winneshiek received notification from the U.S. Army that the Secretary of Defense had signed a memorandum awarding Code Talker recognition. It was the latest list of seven veterans that she submitted for approval two and a half years ago.
There is no word yet when the medals for the families will be complete. Winneshiek contacted the U.S. treasury, which is responsible for minting the medals, but they said the order will have to get on the production schedule.
Every native nation designed its own medal imprint, which commonly has a likeness of veteran native member on the front of the medal and the nation’s seal on the back. Helping design the Ho-Chunk Nation’s medal were Monty Green, Andy Thundercloud and Clayton Winneshiek.
 The list of seven World War II Code Talker veterans join the previously recognized veterans of Bill Whitebear, Army; Benjamin Winneshiek, Army; Bill Mike, Army; Jesse Mike, Army; Clifford Blackdeer, Army; Emanuel Thundercloud, Army; and Howard Littlejohn, Army.
At the foreground of this recognition effort, Winneshiek has been working at this endeavor for several years.
“In April 2012, I began my tour of duty as the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Veterans Service Officer,” Winneshiek said. “I found a file dating back to 1995; the file contained the names of seven WWII Ho-Chunk Veterans which had a note attached that said, ‘Possible Code Talkers.’ Since the file was still open, I made contact with the Department of Defense and submitted the list of seven veterans to them to be approved as Code Talkers. They were approved in 2013.”
In July of 2013, she submitted a second list of seven WWII Ho-Chunk veterans to the Department of Defense to be approved as Code Talkers. The process of approval took two and a half years because it was required to provide documentation to prove these veterans were in the South Pacific at that time, she said.
Winneshiek wishes to thank Andrew Thundercloud Jr. and Elena Blackdeer-Greendeer for providing the documentation which was accepted as proof.
The U.S. Army, Department of Defense acknowledges their heartfelt congratulations and their deep gratitude to the recipients and their families, she said.