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Generals Support Civilian Trauma Training in Senate Hearing
Thursday, May 4, 2006

Washington, DC – Top military commanders testified yesterday at the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to review the FY2007 Defense Health Program.  Among the issues of unanimous agreement was the necessity of continuing to provide our military medics with trauma training in the clinical environment.  According to testimony, this practice ensures that all military medical personnel, from surgeons to nurses, are equipped with the necessary tools for success in war time.

Army Surgeon General Kevin Kiley highlighted the importance of “clinical teamwork” in caring for the wounded and noted that this training is now usually learned in the pre-deployment setting as opposed to “on-the-job.”  Air Force Surgeon General George Peach Taylor, Jr., pointed to the success of the Coalition for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills, or C-STARS.  The program and similar ones like the Tacoma Trauma Trust (TTT) partners the military with civilian medical centers throughout the country to provide civilian trauma training to military medics.
According to General Taylor, C-STARS is “a mutually beneficial relationship that enhances preparedness both at home and abroad.  Many students laud C-STARS as the best medical training they have received to prepare them for deployment.”

The clinical setting can be highly beneficial for military nurses as well.  Rear Admiral Christine Bruzek-Kohler of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corp said she considered clinical proficiency to be one of the five priorities for Navy Nursing, adding that joint training in both military and civilian medical communities is “essential” for readiness.  
Assistant Air Force Surgeon General Melissa Rank mandated that nurses working in outpatient and non-clinical roles complete at least 168 hours annually with inpatient units to maintain their skills.

C-STARS, TTT, and many similar programs provide a rare symbiotic relationship that serves the needs of both the military and civilian medical centers and enhances the efforts of our forces abroad.


Chief of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Submits Letter to Native American Times Urging Passage of the Code Talkers Recognition Act

Soldiers in Top Secret Program Deserve Recognition

Submitted By Choctaw Chief Gregory E. Pyle 11/2/2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Language is the archives of history.” It holds not only where we have been, but who we are. On Veteran’s Day in particular, we write stories, sing songs, and create memorials to our men and women in arms, whose bravery and sacrifice have made, and continue to make, our way of life and freedoms possible. We make such remembrances to strengthen ourselves, personally and as a people and to keep fresh the truth that freedom comes with a price. What greater fear should we have then to have our history, ourselves, disappear into a timeless abyss, forgotten by all. Such actions of recognition are the essence of Veterans’ Day.

It is with a proud sense of the history of service given by Native American men and women that I ask for consideration on this Veterans’ Day of another story in need of recognition. It is a story of brave men and valiant deeds, which begins with the use of language. It has been almost 90 years since Choctaws gave their service to the United States and joined the Army to travel across the ocean to a foreign land. Despite the fact that citizenship was not granted to Native Americans until 1924, our men, along with hundreds of men from other Native American Tribes, volunteered to defend their Country.

In the midst of battlefields in France, Choctaw men were overheard speaking their Native language by an officer frustrated with the lack of security of battlefield communications. The officer said “Maybe the Germans can’t speak Choctaw.” Instructing the Choctaws to use their words as “code”, they were placed strategically on front lines and at command posts so that messages could be transmitted without being understood by the enemy. Critical to the War in the West, these men were responsible for saving Allied lives and material.

Eighteen Choctaw men have been documented as being the first to use their own language as a “code” to transmit military messages. The military was quick to recognize, in dispatches, the utility of the use of Native languages as code, and during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, Native men from a number of Tribes were sent to serve in front line detachments as “Code Talkers”. In the skies over Germany, they coordinated the bombing of enemy arsenals. The first message from an American beach during D-Day was sent by a Code Talker. In many island battles in the Pacific, from the New Guinea attacks to the sand of Iwo Jima, the famed Navajo Code Talkers, the Windtalkers of movie and story, served with pride and distinction.

However, to this day, the exploits and service of many of these men remain largely unknown and unheralded. The Navajo Code Talkers rightly received the recognition they deserved in 2000, when the Congress of a Grateful Nation bestowed upon the survivors and their descendants, Congressional Medals. However, similar recognition for other Code Talkers, has not been given.

On this Day of Honor for our Veterans, their families and their Nation, we ask that the Congress right this failure.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, along with Comanche and Sioux tribal members, are working with Congress to get federal recognition for all Code Talkers. The Code Talker Recognition Act (S 1035) sponsored by Senator Inhofe and co-sponsored by an overwhelming 79 Senators, has passed the Senate unanimously.

Yet its future, or the future of a companion bill, sponsored by Congresswoman Kay Granger of Texas (HR 4597), in the House of Representatives is clouded. TIME FOR ACTION IN THIS TWO YEAR CONGRESS IS RUNNING OUT.

Ms. Granger’s House bill is supported by a bi-partisan and nationwide coalition of 155 co-sponsors, with the support, we are proud to say, of all the Oklahoma delegation in the House. It is essentially the same bill as was passed in the House by unanimous consent in 2002. It has been supported by Veterans’ groups throughout the country. However, for reasons which do not seem to us to be substantial, it is now being held in a House Committee on Financial Services and seems to be set for death at the end of this congress.

The failure to act seems to be more related to process, not substance; more related to inertia than intention. We have been told the failure to act is premised on a desire by Congress to limit such recognitions to two per year (a hard explanation to fathom when the Congress has already passed three this year and the House stands poised to give the same recognition to Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister). We have been told the bill needs more co-sponsors, in spite of the fact that recognition of the Navajo Code Talkers (an act we fully and unconditionally support) was passed with less than half the number of co-sponsors on our bill. It appears that the real reason for failure to act is more a lack of giving this act regarding our Veterans priority and a place on the schedule.

We thank our supporters, our delegation, for the unwavering support they have given us, and we thank our many co-sponsors and supporters from around the Country. We want to make plain that this is not a matter of philosophy or politics – it is a matter of heart and soul, a matter of pride, not just for Native Americans, but for all Americans, especially those who have served in uniform.

We do know that the failure to act has had, and will have, a real impact on those associated with these brave deeds. Sadly, none of the Code Talkers of the Choctaw Nation survived to hear their deeds celebrated publicly. When they died, the use of Native languages as code for the military was still largely a secret, hostage to a possible future need for similar service.

Although I never had the fortune of meeting any of the Choctaw Code Talkers of the First World War, I was honored to know one of the tribe’s WWII Code Talkers, Schlicht Billy. Schlicht was in the 180th, and participated in the landing of Anzio, liberation of Rome and invasion of southern France. Schlicht Billy participated in an event held November 3, 1989 at the Oklahoma State Capitol when the government of France presented the Choctaw Nation the “Chevalier de l’Order National du Merite” in recognition of the important role of the WWI Code Talkers. The tribe has also honored these 18 men, by a beautiful granite monument inscribed with their names at the entrance to the Tribal Capitol Grounds at Tuskahoma, Oklahoma.

However, when the bill was first introduced in Congress, in 2001, several Code Talkers from other Tribes, including Sioux and Comanche, were alive. On the floor of the House in 2002, Ms. Granger cited the service of Charles Chibitty, the last remaining Comanche Code Talker, and asked for passage, so he would receive the medal while alive. Alas, Mr. Chibitty died in 2005, honored by native tribes, and by his colleagues and fellow veterans, but unsung by the Nation he had so proudly served.

Other Code Talkers have also passed on in recent years. We are aware of only one remaining Code Talker from World War II, Mr. Clarence Wolfguts, a Sioux from South Dakota. Let us not wait until he also passes on, until it is too late to see the pride in his eyes, and our own, when he receives the honor he deserves. As for our Choctaw Tribal Code Talkers and those of other Tribes, we look toward the families, the children, the grandchildren with pride and hope for recognition.

We know that it is sometimes easy to lose sight of what is important to any one group, but as we come closer to Veteran’s Day, we call for swift passage. If foreign governments can recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our soldiers, than it is time for the United States Congress to do likewise. WE proudly tell of the deeds and history of our Code Talkers, American soldiers every one. WE will not let these events be forgotten. WE ask all Americans of good heart to join with us. This is an American story.

Article from the Bishinik About the Code Talker

http://www.thunderpeople.com/html/bishinik.htm

 

 

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