Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) Arthur L. Money today recognized the last surviving member of the elite Comanche Code Talkers, Charles Chibitty, in a Pentagon ceremony. Chibitty was presented with the Knowlton Award in recognition of his significant contributions to military intelligence efforts.
Along with 16 other Comanche Indians, Chibitty was part of the Army's 4th Signal Company, also known as the Code Talkers. Like the Choctaws of World War I, and the Navajos in the Pacific Theater, the Comanche Code Talkers used their native language to prevent the enemies of the European Theater from intercepting messages of the allied troops during World War II. The unit was instrumental during the Normandy invasion.
Chibitty was born near Medicine Park, Okla. on Nov. 20, 1921. After attending Haskell Indian School at Lawrence, Kan., he enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1941. While in the Army, Cpl. Chibitty earned the World War II Victory Medal, the European Theater of Operations (5th Bronze Star) Victory Medal, the Europe African Middle East Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. In addition to his role as a Code Talker, Chibitty was a champion boxer in the Army.
In 1989, the French Government honored the Comanche Code Talkers, including Chibitty, by presenting them the "Chevalier of the National Order of Merit." In 1992, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney presented Chibitty a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty has also received a special proclamation from the Governor of Oklahoma who honored him for his contribution both to Oklahoma and the United States. Nationally known for his Indian championship dancing, he currently resides in Tulsa, Okla.
The Knowlton Award was established in 1995 by the Military Intelligence Corps Association. The award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to Army Intelligence, who have high standards of integrity and moral character, and who display outstanding degree of professional competence. It is named for Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton who performed distinguished military service during the American Revolutionary War. He was appointed by George Washington to form a regiment expressly for intelligence services.