Samuel Sandoval, Navajo Code Talker, remembered for love of homeland

by Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press from Flagstaff, Arizona

Samuel Sandoval, who died this week, was one of the last Navajo Code Talkers. The code, based on the Navajo language, stumped Japanese military cryptologists and helped the United States ultimately win the war. He also helped expand the Navajo alphabet.

149012Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval talks about his experiences in the military in Cortez, Colorado in 2013. Mr. Sandoval, who died this week, is remembered as a loving and courageous person who defended his homeland using his sacred language.Sam Green/The Cortez Journal/AP/File

August 2, 2022

Samuel Sandoval, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers who transmitted messages in World War II using a code based on their native language, has died.

Mr. Sandoval died late Friday at a hospital in Shiprock, New Mexico, his wife Malula told The Associated Press on Saturday. He was 98.

Hundreds of Navajos were recruited from the vast Navajo Nation to serve as Code Talkers with the U.S. Marine Corps. Only three are still alive today: Peter MacDonald, John Kinsel Sr., and Thomas H. Begay.

The Code Talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific, sending thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war’s ultimate outcome. The code, based on the then-unwritten Navajo language, confounded Japanese military cryptologists and is credited with helping the U.S. win the war.

Mr. Sandoval was on Okinawa when got word from another Navajo Code Talker that the Japanese had surrendered and relayed the message to higher-ups. He had a close call on the island, which brought back painful memories that he kept to himself, Malula Sandoval said.

Page created on 8/10/2022 4:08:31 PM

Last edited 10/31/2022 4:56:47 PM

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