In 1942 at age 19, he left the reservation to help in the war. After training as a Code Talker, he served on the islands of Guadalcanal, New Britain, Saipan and Peleliu. He was a corporal when the Marines cut him loose in 1945.

When asked by an Arizona Republic reporter in 2001 about his legacy, Oliver was hesitant. “Am I a hero? I don’t know,” Oliver said after some thought. “Yeah. I’ll be a hero,” he finally said. “I’ll go for that. Yeah.”

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