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Navajo Code Talker to speak in Cortez

Sam Sandoval, of Shiprock, served five South Pacific tours in WWII
Sam Sandoval speaks at the Cortez Cultural Center in 2012.

World War II veteran and Navajo Code Talker Sam Sandoval will speak at the Sunflower Theatre on Monday, Aug. 14, according to a news release from the Cortez Cultural Center.

The theatre and the Cultural Center are teaming up to host Sandoval in recognition of National Code Talkers Day. They will also host a showing of a documentary about his life called “Naz Bah Ei Bijei: Heart of a Warrior.”

“We are incredibly thrilled and honored to host Mr. Sandoval on National Code Talker Day,” Rebecca Levy, executive director of the Cultural Center, said in the release. “The role that Code Talkers played in the Allied Forces victory in World War II cannot be overstated.”

Sandoval, 93, is the last surviving Code Talker from Shiprock, New Mexico, according to the release. He was born in Nageezi, New Mexico, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 after graduating from the Navajo Mission School in Farmington. He worked as a code talker during five combat tours in the South Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Pelelui, Guam and Okinawa.

He has spoken in Cortez a few times before.

The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. at the Sunflower Theatre, at Main and Market streets in downtown Cortez. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Levy at 970-565-1151, ext. 10, or becky@cortezculturalcenter.org.

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