World War II veteran Sophie Yazzie celebrated her 102nd birthday at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.
Published August 27, 2016
TSAILE, ARIZONA – Sergeant Sophie B. Yazzie remembers looking into becoming a Navajo Code Talker while looking for a job as a cook in the Window Rock area.
She was 28 years old at the time and had been working as a cook and hostess in Gallup, New Mexico. Commuting back and forth from her home in Chinle, was not easy and Yazzie was in search of something else.
When she went to see if the Marines needed a woman’s touch, her cousin by clan, Johnny Manuelito advised that the “Navajo” Marine Corps was not accepting women and suggested she try the Army, Yazzie recalled during her 102nd birthday party held at the Diné College gym in Tsaile.
Yazzie remembered the Army recruiter’s office being in the post office as she made her way into Gallup.
“When I found his office, the recruiter handed me an application to complete,” she said. The recruiter told her he would check into whether or not the Army would accept her. She said she told him she lived in Chinle and the distance made it difficult for her to check in with him everyday.
“He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll check into it’,” Yazzie said. “After that I filled out the form right away. Within a week I went to check my box and he had left a note in my post office box.”
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.