Navajo Code Talker Samuel Tsosie, Sr with U.S. Senator Orin Hatch in Utah on Veterans Day 2010.
Navajo Code Talker Samuel Tsosie, Sr. (1923 – 2014)
PRESCOT, ARIZONA — The Navajo Nation is mourning the loss of Code Talker Samuel Tsosie, Sr. who walked on this past Sunday. Flags are flying at half-mast on the Navajo Reservation until November 28 by orders of Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Mr. Tsosie was 91.
Born May 18, 1923 to Balone Begay, Mr. Tsosie joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 20 with the 1st Marine Division with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. He became a radioman communicating in the Navajo language to confuse the enemy in every major battle of the Pacific Theater, including lwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, Okinawa, and Peleliu during World War II. He served his country with honor and distinction from 1943 to 1945.
After the war, Mr. Tsosie worked with the Public Health Service in Winslow, Arizona for 40 years and retired from Indian Health Service.
He also became an active member of the Navajo Code Talker Association, sharing his story with others in several states around the United States.
Just last year on March 27, 2013, Mr. Tsosie visited his the modern-day 1st Marine Division with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp San Mateo and told the young Marines:
“We were always wet from the constant rain, always hungry, and always worried if we were going to make it one more day. War is hell.”
Samuel Tsosie, Sr. greets young Marine last year at Camp San Mateo to tell his story of service during WWII.
“Our code was never broken by the Japanese. This is why we were so invaluable to the Marine Corps,” Mr. Tsosie said. “We kept many Marines safe because the Japanese could not figure out what we were going to do next.”
Mr. Tsosie was preceded in death by his wife, one son and two daughters. He is by his children: Dorothy, Gary, Francis, Loretta, LaVerne, Samuel Jr., and Caroline.
His funeral service was held Wednesday, November 26 at the VA Chapel in Prescott, Arizona. He was laid to rest at the Phoenix National Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona.