Over the course of 13 weeks, the code was developed, practiced, and committed to memory.
It grew into a sprawling dictionary, tailored for precise communication in every conceivable battlefield situation.
The code ranged from simple letters (“A” could be communicated as the Navajo words for ant, apple, or axe) to vehicles (Dive bomber = “chicken hawk,” submarine = “metal fish”) to direct or approximate translations of hundreds of verbs such as capture, escape, entrench, flank, halt, and target.
Once the code was complete, the code talkers became invaluable communications assets. As the war went on, some 400 Navajos were recruited and trained in the code.