Henry "Gene" Burton Sr Memorial, Post 13 Sitka, Alaska


Tlingit Code Talkers


Alaska Natives and American Indians have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War and in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. During World War II, more than 44,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives served in the U.S. military. More than 42,000 served during the Vietnam War as well. Today, an estimated 24,000 Native American and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty, and more than 150,000 veterans self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.


These five men were posthumously awarded silver medals by the United States Congress for their honorable service to our country in 2013. 

  • Robert “Jeff” David, Sr. (Kaasgú Suk kees) – US Army: Served in the Philippines during World War II and was a basketball legend in his community of Haines. After the war, he served as one of the first board members for the Sealaska Corporation.
  • Richard Bean, Sr. (Joonalaxéitl) US Army: Mr. Bean served in the South Pacific during World War II and upon returning home to Southeast Alaska, became a commercial fisherman and a lifetime member of Sealaska Corporation, Huna Totem Corp., Juneau Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Alaska Native Brotherhood.
  • George Lewis, Jr. (Saa.aat’, Naagei, Xaakaayí) – US Army: Served in the Aleutian Islands campaign. Was a fluent speaker of the Tlingit language and served in the U.S. military during World War II. He was a lifelong member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and served in the Salvation Army for 45 years.
  • Harvey Jacobs (Tleeyaa Kéet, Gaandawéi) and Mark Jacobs Jr. (Saa.aat’, Keet wú, Oodéishk’áduneek, Gusht’eihéen, Wóochxkaduhaa) – US Navy: The two brothers joined the U.S. Navy shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and served the Pacific Theatre. Mark became a leader in Sitka and held positions in the Alaska Native Brotherhood, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Sealaska and other prominent organizations.


Due to the efforts of Post 13 officers from 2021-2024 the US Army now recongizes the 6th Code Talker


  • Louis Minard  (Kaachdex) – US Army: Was a fluent speaker of the Tlingit language and served in the U.S. military during World War II in the Aleutian Islands campaign. was a Tlingit silver carver of the Tsaagweidi Clan (Yellow Cedar House - Xaayihit) who was born in 1917 in Petersburg, Alaska. As a boy, he went to Sitka to attend Sheldon Jackson School and eventually made it his home. He joined the military, fought in World War II, was a cook, and worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps.


5 of the 6 were members of the American Legion Post 13 Sitka, Alaska and all were outstanding members of the American Legion.