Battle Rattle

Filmmaker seeks to educate students about Code Talkers

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The last surviving member of the original Navajo Code Talkers will be featured in a documentary to be shown in classrooms across the country in order to educate students about the impact those Marines had in defeating the Japanese during World War II.

Chester Nez was one of 29 Marines who initially created a special code the Japanese couldn’t crack during the second world war. Now he’s sharing his story with David DeJonge, a filmmaker and founder of Survivor Quest, a nonprofit that specializes in educational documentaries. Nez will be one of several Marines featured in the new 25-minute film.

DeJonge began filming the Code Talkers’ story after traveling to to Gallup, N.M. He was there to premier another film at a local hotel about the life of Frank Buckles, the last of the World War I veterans. Nez went to see the film and was introduced to DeJonge by Ken Riege, the hotel manager.

Riege said DeJonge decided almost immediately that he wanted to make a film about the Code Talkers.

“In this area, their story has been very well written about, but there aren’t a lot of documentary films about them,” Riege said.

Riege has stayed involved in DeJonge’s project, working to get the word out locally. He put the filmmaker in touch with several more Code Talkers who regularly attend functions at his hotel.

Their story is well-known across New Mexico, Riege said, but they’re excited to share it with a greater audience who might not know anything about their accomplishments.

“They’re extremely respected here, and I think it’s one of the primary reasons enlistment in this area — and particularly in the Marine Corps — is so high,” Riege said. “People want to follow in their amazing footsteps.”

DeJonge hopes to have the Code Talkers’ documentary shown in classrooms nationwide, as well as aired on PBS or the Military Channel, Riege said. 

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  1. Rosemary Reynolds Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    This is such a great moment I history
    Thank you

  2. Amber Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Please let me know when the documentary comes out & if it will be available for purchase. I want to watch it & I also want to make sure my children it.

  3. Dell Pagano Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Will this be available for public to buy? I really would love to have one. Want to have for all my children, grandchildren, and greatgrands to view. I remember that time. Semper Fi. !

  4. Singleton Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you sir for your service. I have always admired the Code Talkers and read everything I find about them. Really looking forward to this film.

  5. Chuck Says:
    February 18th, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Hi, I am a U.S. Marine combat veteran and would like to purchase a copy of the documentary, how can II do that?

  6. Kristi Says:
    February 19th, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I really want my kids to watch this – will you post an update on when the film will be available?

  7. Ken Riege Says:
    February 19th, 2014 at 10:12 am

    The best way to ensure this film is completed is to go to to donate and any amount is fine. This is a 501c3 non-profit who’s primary goal is to educate our youth on the amazing sacrifices of our military. I am simply honored to be a part of this project.

  8. Ellamae Bender Young Says:
    February 20th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you for your service. You helped to make our country free.

  9. chat rooms Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Many thanks for each alternate informative blog. The place otherwise may possibly I purchase that sort of real information written in this sort of ideal style? I’ve a goal that we are at the moment working away at, and I’ve already been for the be aware of such information.

  10. Mike Wukitsch Says:
    February 21st, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    These Marines shoukld never be forgotten.
    Please let me know when the film is available for purchase.
    Semper Fi
    Mike Wukitsch
    United States Marine Corps

  11. Reyna Says:
    February 25th, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for your service!!! True Heroes!