1923 - 2022
Sam was born on Oct 24th, 1923. With his wife, Malula, they lived and raised their family in Nageezi, New Mexico. Sam passed away the morning of July 29th.
Donations are welcome for funeral expenses.
Naz Bah Ei Bijei:
The Heart of a Warrior.
Sam never waivered from his work in maintaining the legacy of the over 400 Navajo Code Talkers. The image above, taken Jun 10th, 2022, at the World War II American Spirit Awards, reflected Sam's dedication to representing Navajo Code Talkers. Their values and spirit have never been broken, just like their code.
Samuel attended a Methodist school in western New Mexico for 12 years. After graduating, Sandoval enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 26, 1943. He completed basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, where the 29 original Code Talkers had arrived in September 1942. Sandoval spent 20 weeks at Camp Pendleton, California, memorizing the Navajo code. As one of the 418 Code Talkers who served during World War II, Sandoval used the 813-word Navajo code to send and receive military communications in the South Pacific Theater.
Sandoval served in five South Pacific Combat tours: the Battle of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Peleliu, and Okinawa. The most memorable moment of his service was receiving a message from another Code Talkers that the Japanese forces surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945.
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 in lieu of five bronze stars.
Sandoval was discharged from the Marine Corps after World War II. He and his fellow Code Talkers could not talk about the Navajo code for over 20 years. He could not tell his parents about his role in World War II before they passed away. Sandoval’s brother, Merrill, also served as a Code Talker in World War II, but they never worked together and did not discuss their service. In 1968, the brothers could finally talk about their military service.
In 2001, Sandoval received a Silver Congressional Award Medal from President George W. Bush. The 2012 documentary “Naz Bah Ei Bijei: Heart of a Warrior” chronicles Sandoval’s life story and role as a Code Talker.
We honor his service.