Published January 14, 2016
WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA — Ernest Yazhe, a Navajo Code Talker who served in both the Guam and Okinawa campaigns, died Tuesday in Salt Lake City. He was 92.
He was born in Naschitti and graduated from the Albuquerque Indian School. He is the son of the late Taneezahni Yazhi and Nannebah Belle Yazhi.
Shortly after graduating, in September of 1942, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and found himself in New Caledonia being trained as a Code Talker along with 30 other Navajos.
In 2013, he was in a video now on YouTube in which he talked about the Guam and Okinawa campaigns. The video was done by the Utah National Guard which honored him in 2013 for his service to the country as a Navajo Code Talker during World War II.
After getting an honorable discharge in February 1946, he went to work for the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. It was there that he met his wife, Katie, who died in 2007. They had four daughters and three sons together.
After a year at the school, they went back to the reservation for a brief period, living in Nageezi.
In 1948, he traveled to Salt Lake City where he went to work for the Kennecott Mining Corporation, where he worked for the next 38 years in various positions.
After he retired, he settled down in Sandy, Utah.
Family members said that while he was proud to have been a Navajo Code Talker, he did not participate very much in Code Talker activities. He did, however, participate in the ceremonies in 2002 in which members of the Code Takers received Congressional medals honoring their service to their country.
“He was a great, kind and loving father,” said his daughter, Lisa Yazhe.
Funeral services have been arranged. Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Evans and Early Funeral Home in Salt Lake City.
The funeral has been set to begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Camp Williams Military Cemetery about 25 miles south of Salt Lake City. Burial will be there as well.
(Navajo Times Editor’s note: The Times confirmed that Ernest Yazhe is correct. His father spelled his last name as Yazhi.)
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.