Please discuss the contribution to the war effort made by Mexican Americans and Native Americans. How did Mexican Americans contribute through the Bracero Program and in the military? Discuss the military contribution of Native Americans including the Navajo code breakers.

Native American contributions in the military during World War Two included service by more than 44,000 people in all theaters of operation. Women joined the WACS and other services, as well as the reserves. The Code Talkers used two dozen Native languages, including Navajo, in the Marine Corps. They provided secure communication, especially in the Pacific. In Europe, one celebrated unit was the 45th Infantry, known as the Thunderbirds.

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Native American people contributed in countless ways within the US military during World War II. Of a total Native American population of 350,000 in the 1940s, more than 44,000 served in all branches of the military. Some remained stateside, while most participated in both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. Women, who were not included in conscription, joined the WACS and other women’s services, as well as becoming members of reserve corps.

While Native Americans occupied the same roles as other service members, they also played unique roles relating to the use of Native languages. Code Talkers who used about twenty Native languages served in the various branches. Especially well known are the Navajos who served in the Marine Corps. Beginning in 1942, they were recruited specifically for the purpose of using Navajo language to form a code that would be used in secure communications. This code was never broken.

Many military units were integrated, but several were composed exclusively of Native American troops. One celebrated unit was the Army’s 45th Infantry, known as the Thunderbirds. It included Native servicemen from the US Southwest. Notably, the Thunderbirds stationed in North Africa participated in the Allied invasion of Italy. Later, they also participated in the liberation in the prisoners from Germany’s infamous Dachau concentration camp.

In the Pacific Theater, Native Americans often served as parachutists. They participated in numerous island campaigns. For example, Ira Hayes, a Gila River Pima, fought on Iwo Jima and was one of six Marines who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. It was an action immortalized in a famous photograph.

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