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FARMINGTON, N.M. -- A Navajo Code Talker who joined the Marines as a teenager to hang out with his friends has died at his home in New Mexico.

Wilfred Billey's daughter, Barbara, says her father died Thursday in Farmington following a short illness. He was 90.

Wilfred Billey was one of hundreds of Navajo Code Talkers, who stumped the Japanese during World War II by relaying messages in their native language.

He was attending the Navajo Methodist Mission School when the superintendent there learned the U.S. Marine Corps was looking for Navajo radio men. Barbara Billey says her father volunteered because he wanted to be with friends who had enlisted.

She says he never considered himself a hero.

Wilfred Billey later became an educator and spent his retirement ranching and farming.

Services are scheduled for Dec. 21 in Farmington.

Associated Press,

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