Samuel F. Sandoval, Sr. October 24, 1923 – July 29, 2022 Samuel is survived by his wife, Malula Sandoval. The children are Samuel (Alice) Sandoval, Jr., Patricia Sandoval (Gary – deceased), Sharon (Floyd) Stoker, Sonya (Waylon) Todacheene, Karen (Randy) John, and Delbert (Fatumia) Sandoval. He is also survived by his siblings Mabel Sandoval-Penn, Bert (Mae) Sandoval, Betsy Sandoval, and Nellie (Mike) Sandoval. There were 33 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his brothers Robert, Merril, Rodger, his sister, Beulah, and his parents, Helen Smith and Julian Sandoval, Jr. and his grandfather, Hosteen Clah. Samuel was Naasht'ézhi Dine'é (Zuni Clan) and born for Tl’ááshchí'í (Red Cheek People). His maternal grandfather was Tsenabahilnii (Sleep-Rock People), and his paternal grandfather was Taneeszahnii (Badlands People). He was born in Kimbeto, NM, near Chaco Canyon. Samuel attended and graduated from Navajo Methodist Mission School in Farmington, New Mexico. After graduating in 1942 from the 12th grade, he enlisted in the Marine Corps on March 26, 1943. He completed basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA, where the 29 original Code Talkers had arrived in September 1942. After completing his training, he transferred to Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, where he helped develop 600 plus more codes with two lines of alphabet. As one of the 418 Code Talkers who served during World War II, Samuel used the 813-word Navajo code to send and receive military communications in the South Pacific Theater. He served in five combat tours, including Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Peleliu, and Okinawa, and was honorably discharged on January 26, 1946. Samuel 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. He also received the 2022 American Spirit Award for Bravery by the National WWII Museum in June. He earned a Bachelors certificate in substance abuse counseling at the University of Utah. He worked as an alcoholism counselor for many years assisting Navajo people experiencing substance abuse in Farmington and Shiprock. For more than 50 years, he was an outspoken advocate for sharing the story of the Navajo Code Talkers across the Navajo Nation and around the world. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan recognized August 14 as National Navajo Code Talkers Day. In 2001, Samuel received a silver Congressional Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush. Samuel was one of the four living Navajo Code Talkers. Family funeral services will be at 10 AM on August 3, 2022, at the Ryder Memorial Chapel on the Navajo Preparatory School campus in Farmington, NM. The public is welcome to pay tribute to Code Talker Samuel Sandoval along Piñon Hills Boulevard to East Main Street at 11:30 AM-12:00 PM. Burial will be at Memory Gardens in Farmington, NM, with full military honors. The public memorial service will be at 10 AM on August 6, 2022, at the Farmington Civic Center.
Posted online on August 02, 2022
Published in The Farmington Daily Times