Posted at: 11/11/2012 5:29 PM
Updated at: 11/11/2012 10:39 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
There is no surprise that Veterans Day is November 11th.
But for one Navajo Code Talker, the day is also his birthday. And for his 90th birthday, his family threw him a surprise birthday party he will never forget.
David E. Patterson, Sr. served from 1943 to 1945 as a Navajo Code Talker in the Pacific theatre of World War II against Japan.
Patterson, along with other code talkers, transmitted hundreds of battlefield tactics and other messages crucial to the war, and the Japanese could not crack the Navajo code.
The code talkers helped the United States defeat Japan in the war.
Patterson now lives with his son, Pat, in Rio Rancho. Pat organized the surprise party on Sunday for his father. He said he knew very little of his father's service in World War II.
"I knew he served in the Marines. I knew he was obviously a veteran. But as far as knowing he was a Code Talker, he never spoke of it," Pat Patterson said.
One of his father's favorite routines now invovles bowling, something Pat Patterson takes a special part in.
"He's still an inspiration. He's still a big bowler. He still likes to bowl once a week. We take him up stairs in Santa Ana to bowl once a week. He still likes it. He reads his bowling novels. He reads his code talker stuff," the son said.
The family surprised David Patterson with family members from across the region.
"It surprised me. I was kinda nervous, but I can't wait to open those presents," David Patterson said.
One of his presents came from his son. It was a new bowling ball with the Marine Corps logo on it. The two already broke in the new present at the bowling alley in the Santa Ana Star Casino.