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Sun, Aug 21


Empire State Aerosciences Museum

Peter McDonald - Navajo Code Talker

At ESAM via Zoom from Arizona as part of National Aviation Week at ESAM

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Peter McDonald - Navajo Code Talker
Peter McDonald - Navajo Code Talker

Time & Location

Aug 21, 2022, 2:00 PM

Empire State Aerosciences Museum, 250 Rudy Chase Dr, Glenville, NY 12302, USA

About the event

Peter McDonald, one of the three remaining Navajo code talkers will speak via Zoom from Arizona on Sunday, August 21 at 2 pm. In World War I and World War II, the United States relied on a special group of men to keep its messages safe from the enemy. Branches of the military recruited Native Americans from tribes across the country, including the Cherokee, Crow, Hopi, Muscogee Creek, Osage, Pawnee, Sac and Fox, Seminole, Sioux, Choctaw, Comanche and Navajo tribes. These brave men became known as a renowned group called Code Talkers.

Indeed, Native Americans are distinguished by their level of military service - more than any other ethnic group in the country - approximately 44,000 Native Americans served in WWII alone. and of those. some 400 were Navajo Code Talkers. At the age of 15, Peter McDonald, a Navajo from Teecnospos, AZ, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He went through boot camp at U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), San Diego, CA. Following regular combat and communication training at USMCB in Camp Pendleton, CA, McDonald, along with other Navajo Marines, was secluded from other Marines for top secret Navajo Code School. During the final phase of World War II (1944-46) MacDonald served in the Pacific as Navajo Code Talker and North China with the Sixth Marine Division.

McDonald went on to University of Oklahoma and graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree (BEE). He pursued graduate studies at UCLA while working as a Project Engineer on the Polaris Missile project for (Howard) Hughes Aircraft Company. McDonald served as Project Manager for the manufacture of the Polaris Missile Guidance System and was a member of the elite Hughes Technical Staff (MTS).

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