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Hasbro Releases Navajo Code Talker GI Joe Figure

gijoe_navajo.jpg - 18112 BytesThis G.I. Joe has plenty to say.

The Navajo Code Talker action figure comes with a short history of the famous World War II code talkers. Lift the foot-tall toy's arm and he says seven phrases in Navajo, followed by English translations. ``Request air support'' and ``attack by machine gun'' are among them.

Sam Billison provided the voice and phrases for the toy. During the war, he was part of a specially trained group of Navajo Marines who translated radio communications into unbreakable codes using the Navajo language. They were known as code talkers.

``They came out and recorded me,'' said Billison, 74, a delegate to the Navajo Tribal Council who lives in Window Rock, Ariz. ``I talk slow so they increased my speed.''

Navajo G.I. Joe, shipped to stores nationwide in February, is one of 22 classic G.I. Joe figures. Among the others are a female Army helicopter pilot, Japanese-American soldiers in World War II and President Kennedy as a PT boat commander.

The toy's maker, Hasbro, agreed to donate $5,000 to the Navajo Code Talkers Association and plans to give a Navajo G.I. Joe to each of the approximately 150 surviving code talkers.

The important thing, Billison said, is ``that this will let people know about the code talkers. I think it's really going to put us on the map.''

[Updated 3/02/2000]

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