‘Storage Wars’ Star Dan Dotson Tributes Late Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval

by Taylor Cunningham

Storage Wars host Dan Dotson is paying tribute to a late World War II hero today.

“In memory of Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval,” he wrote on Twitter, “remembered and honored by every patriot and citizen. RIP and Thank you for your service.”

The Late War Hero Was One of The Country’s Last Remaining Navajo Code Talkers

Samuel Sandoval was one of the country’s last living Navajo Code Talkers. During World War II, he helped transmit messages to US forces using an unbreakable code based on his native language.

According to a 2019 interview with The Arizona Republic, Sandoval enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on March 26, 1943. He was only 18 years old at the time.

“The Marine Corps was my choice, to begin with,” he shared.

Sandoval chose the branch after being inspired by Marines he met while working construction for the Department of Defense in Hawthorne, Nevada, a few months prior. He shared that the department stationed men in the Navy and the Corps there. But he quickly became friends with a certain group.

“I would become companions with some of the Marines stationed (there),” he continued.

Samuel Sandoval remembers a few of the men asking why he hadn’t joined their branch, which they said was the “toughest outfit in the world.”

Because of that conversation, he asked his dad to take him back o his hometown of Nageezi, New Mexico, to enlist in the military.

Sandoval Helped Create the Unbreakable Code

The new marine went through basic training and then the military immediately sent off to advanced training at Camp Pendleton. But he had no idea what he was “getting into.” 

While there, he sat as one of the first 29 Navajo Code Talker trained by the Marines. And Sandoval was actually part of the team that created the code based on his then-unwritten native language.

He and his fellow Code Talkers would go on to send thousands of encrypted messages that shared locations of Japanese troops and tactical happenings in the South Pacific. Japanese military cryptologists caught on to the code and attempted to crack it. But they were never successful.

The United States still considers the Navajo Code Talkers as one of the most valuable resources in World War II.

As The Associated Press reported, Samuel Sandoval was stationed in Okinawa when Japan surrendered. And he personally sent the message to his commanding officers.

Sandoval was discharged on Jan. 26, 1946.

The late Marine’s wife, Malula, shared the news that her husband passed away on Friday, July 29th at a hospital in Shiprock, New Mexico. Sandoval was 98 years old.