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The Original 29 Code Talkers

A cache by IthacaDoodle Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 02/28/2020
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1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

A 29-Themed cache placed in celebration of Leap Day 2020 (February 29, 2020)

N.B. This cache was created for teamajk's Ithaca Leap Day event and the (group) FTF is reserved for event attendees.

Like geocache coordinates, military communications have to be coded to keep them secret. Nations have devoted considerable effort trying to create unbreakable codes with limited success. In World War II, both Germany and Japan incorrectly thought they had unbreakable codes.

The one unbreakable code of this era turned out to be a natural language whose phonetic and grammatical structure was so different from the languages familiar to the enemy that it was almost impossible to transcribe, much less translate. This unbreakable code was coded Navajo spoken by native speakers of Navajo.

In 1942, 29 Navajo men joined the U.S. Marines and developed an unbreakable code that would be used across the Pacific including the assaults at Guadalcanal and Iwa Jima: these were the Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. The Navajo Code Talkers were successful because they provided a fast, secure, and error-free line of communication by telephone and radio. In contrast to time-consuming coding and decoding processes, the translation of military messages from English to Navajo and from Navajo to English could done almost instantaneously.

Further apects of the unbreakable code that contributed to its success include:

  • Navajo is a tonal language with four tones in which meaning depends upon the tone in which a word is spoken. Speakers of non-tonal languages simply miss hearing this essential element.
  • The linguistic structure of Navajo is radically different from that of the Indo-European languages since Navajo belongs to an entirely different language family from that of Amerindian languages.
  • Very little had been published about the Navajo language, making it almost impossible for the enemy to acquire any knowledge of the language.
  • Navajo is adaptable to the creation of new words within the language rather than using easily recognizable words borrowed from other languages.
  • The Navajos are by far the largest tribal group. This made it relatively easier to find enough military age men fluent in both Navajo and English to act as Code Talkers.

Once the Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers proved to be successful in the field, more were recruited. It is estimated that more than 400 Navajo men served as Code Talkers during World War II. The Navajo Code Talker program was classified and remained that way until 1968. In 2001, the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

OK, cachers, let’s see if you are ready to crack the unbreakable code of the Original 29 Code Talkers:



Cache is a decon container with a mini trophy for the FTF. Free parking along University Avenue.


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Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Uvqr uvag va pregvghqr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)