Samuel Sandoval, one of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers, has died at age 98


Samuel Sandoval in 2013

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…

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.

Samuel Sandoval was on Okinawa when got word from another Navajo Code Talker that the Japanese had surrendered and relayed the message to higher-ups…

The Navajo men are celebrated annually on Aug. 14. Samuel Sandoval was looking forward to that date and seeing a museum built near the Navajo Nation capital of Window Rock to honor the Code Talkers…

I met a few Code Talkers BITD when I lived in Chinle, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation. They all were treated as heroes of World War 2. Deservedly.