Navajo Code Talker Wilfred Billey dies at age 90

FARMINGTON, N.M. - A Navajo Code Talker who joined the Marines as a teenager to hang out with his buddies has died.

Wilfred Billey's daughter, Barbara, says her father died Thursday morning at his home in Farmington following a short illness. He was 90.

Billey was attending the Navajo Methodist Mission School when the superintendent found out that the U.S. Marine Corps was looking for Navajo radio men. Barbara Billey says her father volunteered because he wanted to be with his friends.

Billey was one of hundreds of Navajos who relayed messages in their native language that stumped the Japanese during World War II. His daughter says he never considered himself a hero.

Billey later became an educator and spent his retirement ranching and farming.

Services are scheduled Dec. 21 in Farmington.

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