Marine veteran Michael Smith wept Wednesday when he heard about the death of Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo Code Talkers.
Smith, from Window Rock, who had met Nez several times, described him as a “quiet, humble” Navajo Marine.
Smith said that the passing of Nez — the last of the first 29 Navajo men who created a code from their language that stumped the Japanese in World War II — marked the closure of a chapter in the story of a special group of veterans.
Nez died Wednesday morning in Albuquerque, where he lived with his son Michael. He was 93. His family said he died of kidney failure.