Southeast Alaska Native Veterans honored Tlingit code talkers at a Veterans Day ceremony Tuesday morning in Juneau. The families of five men who served during World War II received medals and Congressional certificates recognizing their service.
Tony Jacobs’ dad and uncle were among the soldiers who used Tlingit to relay important information during the war.
“The Tlingit Indians had their own Tlingit names for various places around Southeast,” Jacobs said. “And that’s what they were used for is to let the ship’s captain or quartermasters know where they were located secretly actually, where enemy forces would not be able to ID their location.”
Jacobs says he was overcome with emotion at the recognition. He served in the Navy himself during 1970s, and says he’d recommend military service to anyone.
“You get benefits – health benefits, education benefits – and you get to see the country and/or the world,” Jacobs said.
More than 100 people attended the Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Ceremony, held at the Tlingit & Haida Central Council’s Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.
Mark Jacobs Sr., Harvey Jacobs, Jeff David, Richard Bean Sr. and George Lewis were all posthumously honored by Congress last year.