Navajo code talker who served in World War II, Joe Kellwood, passed away on Monday.
Joe Kellwood was 95-years-old while he served in the Marines. He was part of a secret group that helped the U.S. win several battles in World War II.
On Thursday his family, friends and fellow Marines honored the fallen hero who was laid to rest at the VA National cemetery in Phoenix.
A couple of the remaining Navajo Code Talkers finished the Marine Corp hymn at Kellwood's funeral. Kellwood served in the first Marine division He fought during World War II and was involved in several battles on the Pacific front, including the battle of Okinawa.
Kellwood was one of 400 Navajos that were recruited by the U.S. military as code talkers, a secret group that transmitted battle messages in their native, unwritten language.
"We owe them such a great honor. They were secret until 1968 they were all used by the United States government so Navajo code talkers thank you for what you have done for our country," said longtime friend, Mike Roy.
There are only 15 code talkers still living.
They are proud to have come up with a code that Japanese soldiers could never crack.
"It was an official military code that was developed using the Navajo language...only those of us who went to code school know what the code is so if Navajo was listening to us.. don't know what we were talking about," said Peter MacDonald from the Navajo Code Talkers Association.
Kellwood is survived by his siblings, several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He earned several medals and honors from both the U.S. military and Navajo Nation.
"Very kind, gentle person loves everyone and enjoyed life," said MacDonald.
There is only about a dozen surviving Navajo Code Talkers.
The president of the group says that they have one final mission and that is to build a national Navajo code talker museum which would be located near Window Rock.