Alaska state flags will fly at half-staff this week in their memory
(Juneau) – Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer is leading the State of Alaska’s effort to honor the memory of five Alaska Natives for their heroic contributions to American victories in World War II. The five men, Robert “Jeff” David Sr., Richard Bean Sr., George Lewis Jr., Harvey Jacobs and Mark Jacobs Jr. served as Tlingit Code Talkers, using their native language to communicate information during combat that the Japanese military was never able to decode.
“These men never discussed their top-secret role, even decades after the war ended, in liberating millions of people and saving the lives of countless American soldiers,” said Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer. “Alaska state flags will fly at half-staff for five days starting Monday, one day for each of these five outstanding American heroes.”
- Robert “Jeff” David, Sr. – 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. – 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. – 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 and Mark Jacobs Jr. – 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.
All five men were posthumously awarded silver medals by the United States Congress for their honorable service to our country in 2013. Lt. Governor Meyer will present the five Alaska state flags flown at the state capitol to the family members of the five Tlingit code talkers at a special ceremony prior to the start of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in Juneau on Monday, March 18.