Last Lakota code talker Clarence Wolf Guts dies at 86





When the towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001, Clarence Wolf Guts asked his son to call the U.S. Department of Defense to see if the country needed his code talking abilities to find Osama Bin Laden.

Wolf Guts was in his late 70s at the time, so his son, Don Doyle, did not make the call, but said the request personified his father's love of country.

"He still wanted to help. He was trying to still be patriotic," Doyle said.

Wolf Guts, 86, the last surviving Oglala Lakota code talker, died Wednesday afternoon at the South Dakota State Veterans Home in Hot Springs.

A Native American code talker from World War II, Wolf Guts helped defeat Axis forces by transmitting strategic military messages in his native language, which the Japanese and Germans couldn't translate.

"He's the last surviving code talker from the whole (Lakota) nation. It's going to be a little like the passing of an era," Doyle said.

The 450 Navajo code talkers were the most famous group of Native American soldiers to radio messages from the battlefields, but 15 other tribes used their languages to aid the Allied efforts in World War II. Wolf Guts was one of 11 Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Native American code talkers from South Dakota. Wolf Guts, of Wamblee, enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 17, 1942, at age 18. While in basic training, a general asked Wolf Guts if he spoke Sioux. He explained the three dialects to the general and said he spoke Lakota. Wolf Guts helped develop a phonetic alphabet based on Lakota that was later used to develop a Lakota code.

He and three other Sioux code talkers joined the Pacific campaign; Wolf Guts' primary job was transmitting coded messages from a general to his chief of staff in the field....


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