Remembering Samuel Sandoval, Navajo Code Talker, who died Friday

Aug 1, 2022, 12:30 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:04 am

Samuel Sandoval Navajo code talker...

Samuel Sandoval, World War II Navajo Code Talker, has died at the age of 98. (The Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation)

(The Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation)

On Friday, July 29, Navajo Code Talker, Samuel Sandoval died at the age of of 98. 

The New Mexico native was not only a Code Talker that received several awards. Sandoval provided substance abuse counseling for the Marine Corp. He also owned a clinic. The leadership of the Navajo Nation described Sandoval as a “protector of Navajo homelands.” 

“[He] will always be remembered as a loving and courageous person who sacrificed more than we will ever know to defend our homelands,” said President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez. “His legacy will always live on in our hearts and minds.”


Sandoval served in five combat tours. They include Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Peleliu, and Okinawa. After his honorable discharge in 1946, Sandoval continued giving back to his community by enrolling in college to receive a certificate in substance abuse counseling. 

Samuel Sandoval continues his service

For more than a decade, To-Tah Alcohol Counseling, Sandoval’s clinic helped assist Navajo individuals experiencing substance abuse. 

Sandoval earned a Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, a Combat Action Ribbon, a China Service Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, a Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp and an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with a silver star. But Navajo Nation leaders said Sandoval’s compassion made him memorable. 

“Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval was a great warrior and a compassionate family man,” said Vice President Myron Lizer.  “In every aspect of his life, he was a loving person who cared greatly for his people.”

Earlier this year, Sandoval received the 2022 American Spirit Award for Bravery by the National WWII Museum.

This award is a celebration dedicated to honoring those who inspire others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity—particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community, and education.

“Sam Sandoval lived a life where character, courage, honor, and integrity guided his journey. His impact on history will forever be remembered,” said Navajo Nation Speaker Seth Damon.  

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Remembering Samuel Sandoval, Navajo Code Talker, who died Friday