View Full Version : Merril L. Sandoval, Navajo Code Talker, dies at 82

02-27-08, 05:08 PM
Merril L. Sandoval, Navajo Code Talker, dies at 82

Erin Kozak
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 11, 2008 06:49 PM

Merril L. Sandoval, a Navajo Code Talker during World War II, passed away on Saturday (2/9/08) afternoon at the age of 82.

Sandoval, a Tuba City resident for 44 years, died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix following an illness.

Sandoval enlisted in the Marines in 1943 and served in the 2nd and 5th Marine Division, where his duties included staying behind the front line to translate reports and send information to military commanders in Hawaii, according to a press release from the Navajo Nation.

After his discharge in 1946, Sandoval completed his high school degree and worked as a machinist for 15 years before returning to the Navajo Nation where he worked as a legal advocate and interpreter for the tribal courts.

In 2002, the movie Windtalkers chronicled the story of Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.

"What was said (in the film) was pretty close. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but it's pretty close to our code. There are a lot of things that are missing, but I guess that's the way they make movies. All in all, I think it was a pretty good movie for the public to see," Sandoval said in reference to the film in an Arizona Republic story in 2002.

Sandoval also participated in Code Talker events to share his World War II experiences, according to his Web site.

"We just need to recognize that our nation's treasures are slipping away," said Jeannie Sandoval about her father. "My dad is my hero. I am so proud of him."

Sandoval is survived by his wife, Lorraine; a son, Gary Sandoval; and daughters, Jeannie Sandoval, Sharon Iron and Maxine Sandoval.

He is also survived by brothers, Samuel Sandoval and Bert Sandoval; sisters, Mabel Penn, Nellie Sandoval, and Betsy Sandoval; 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

Flags on the Navajo Nation will fly at half-staff between Wednesday and Saturday to commemorate Sandoval.

02-27-08, 06:07 PM
Slow hand Salute and may you rest in peace Sir..

02-27-08, 06:16 PM
With all my respest,,,,and a couple of tears. May God grant you peace.

03-04-08, 12:55 PM
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width=150 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=pcap>
Merril Sandoval

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>WINDOW ROCK Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. on Monday ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to fly at half-staff from Feb. 13-16 to honor Navajo Code Talker Merril L. Sandoval who died Saturday. He was 82.


03-04-08, 02:38 PM
Message from Thomas H. Begay, USMC, Navajo Code Talker, WWII:

I was very sad to learn of Merrill passing away this past weekend. I served with him as a Navajo Code Talker during WWII and most notably during the Battle of Iwo Jima. We were both assigned to the Radio Platoon, Signal Company, Headquarters Battalion, 5th Marine Divison. He as well as the following Navajo Code Talkers; PFC Freeland Nez, Sergeant Johnny Manuelito, PFC Wilson Price and I served directly under the command of Major Howard M. Conner, Signal Officer, 5th Marine Division. We encoded and decoded over 800 messages without an error. Merrill was one of the finest United States Marine! I am proud to have served honorably with him as well as being his friend throughout the years. He was an outstanding person and my heart goes out to his family, relatives and friends. We have truly lost an honorable man.

Again, my sincere condolences to the family.

Semper Fi

Thomas H. Begay
Navajo Code Talker, 5th Marine Division
USMC, WWII - Survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima
US Army, Korean War, 7th Infantry Division - Survivor of the Chosin Reservoir

03-04-08, 03:12 PM
RIP Marine, Semper FI.