SAHF Inductees

SSgt. William Dean Wilson
Høstfest Heritage Award

2008 Awardee

 

Unites States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant William Dean Wilson, was one of the original group of 29 Navajo Code Talkers. They were credited with saving countless lives and hastening the end of WWII through the use of their virtually indecipherable code based on the Navajo language. Indeed it has been said that if not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines would not have taken Iwo Jima. The 15 year old sheep herder was indeed eager to serve his country claiming he was 18 in order to qualify for enlistment in the Marine Corps. After two tours of duty he became a National Guard Reservist. In the 1960's Wilson became a judge for the Navajo Nation, where he was recognized for his leadership and intelligence. Along with his wife, Mary Louise Defender Wilson, they became strong advocates for honoring and preserving Native American traditions until his death in 1999. He was presented by Major (Ret.) Brian Kalk; US Marines Corp. Received by Mary Louise Defender Wilson, wife of SSgt. William Dean Wilson