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tv   Oral Histories Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval Interview  CSPAN  April 20, 2019 2:06pm-3:06pm EDT

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had no idea how forthcoming they would be. that is why i took younger family members so they wouldn't just be talking to me, they would be talking to the family members who would be witnessing the interviews. i was amazed at how forthcoming they were. the title of the words," iheir own wanted to make it very clear to people that this was coming from them and not from me. i was asking leading questions, but they were responding to their family. for me, it was an awesome experience. george colburn, thank you for stopping by.
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>> being back here now with your navajoses, your fellow -- to come back here, i don't know if you have been back but i wonder if being with your colleagues and seeing what guam is like today as a former battlefield that you visited, could you make us understand how you feel and if you feel it is important to have made this visit and that type of thing. samuel: being far away from the , i introducehe usa myself as samuel sandoval. myould like to express
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personal life, my whole person and my mind and everything i say and everything i see, and within the heart, there are some deep feelings that comes back with me. that it is emotional ' name one of our comrades on these memorials here. , but have to learn as a person that would depend on the higher power. in a traditional way, i was caught by my great, great grandfather. he was one of the warriors. and i learnedhim a lot of discipline from him. you are going out into the
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world, and i did not know what he meant. this is what it meant to me today. when he tried to tell me this was no way of living for the future, i said, that is for you, grandpa, not to me. today i regret it and i loved that man. be here onnted to this island and on the first day, it seemed like a blessing that i would be receiving in my future life i was with the first marine division, landed on the island. natives had the questions on me. they were on the order of the u.s. government and how come you
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?ere killing us during that war andthere is some comparison as native americans, indians are being treated that over the years. talks.ncouraged by the that is very encouraging to me. , i japanese had the airfield was stationed at glottal canal guadal canal.
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but asber coming ashore it was, it seemed like no one was there. it reminded me of the volcanoes that we have in the united .tates towardot stay very long the main in -- engagement. that isl the about out thisthey cold me they pulled me out. the communication system would
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go and it is different from this i was up in the first one. they pulled me back because there was only two of us in our division. time, i had an experience the real rough part of it. as we went along, several days later, they tried to counter ridges.he because of the reinforcement. the headquarters was where our
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and that is across where we had any shortage. .ou stall and you can't move it was for 10 or 11 days, and then we were pulled back out of we secured the island and here come the troops that is the rest of the island. that is what i remember. was the landing particularly
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difficult? ured in land l and then attacked for maximum effect. was the plan of the japanese and they knew they would not stop you at the beach. ,t became quite a killing particularly with the high severales there were ferocious battles that were bought. you did multiple landings. was the use of the code any different? was the fighting any different there than you had experienced before? samuel: to me it was quite
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different. ways.ked quite a the invasion was devastating. thanks for hits and it is entirely different. it was in the hopes they would .efend it we had to go at them to secure that. -- that airfield.
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that was the way it was briefed when we were ready to land that morning. going to takewe that airfield first. >> the other thing about that battle despite its bloody nature was the fact that it seems that you were making great progress toward the ultimate defeat of the enemy. you are moving the campaign along. did you have any feelings at the time that maybe we get this one behind us in the war will finally be over. -- did you have a perspective at the time and ending the war at that
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particular time? navajo code was so secret and so are the code talkers. once you get on board, you only get briefed once. we were going,re we were going there, so we just went along with it. was veryhat difficult. we were told by the commanding we were going to get off the ship and land boat. if the marines don't want to go ashore, there is the ocean.
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and none of them jumped overboard. we all went. so how i feel about that is -- i was conditioned. what i know i was getting into, what was expected of me as a .ode talker thingsthe significant was they called a certain number of marines that you are going back to your camp.
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then they had a replacement. codethere, the other talkers, that is what carried on. arrived, this is the first time that i ever wrote in an airplane. -- rode in an airplane. we had to board the airplane and fly to guam. , so ion the ocean actually don't know what direction i was on. i was on one of the big gun ships. the cruiser i was on before landing and there were special
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.roops of marines it was for mines and stuff like that. ,ny dress that were made for us they did it early in the morning and at night. an experience that has a lot of improvement. of the landing. here it says u.s. marines. army were behind us and i think they were on that side.
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this is the first marine division that landed here. i remember the shore like that. ande were boats out there some of them got caught. but when we landed, some of the ..s. marine comrades got shot they told us not to touch them. it was up to the needy corpsman -- navy corpsman that took care of the u.s. marines. that went on through the war. we went up against these and we
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closerdered not to get to . specialized troops would get them out. we were ordered not to shoot. out and put them back on the line with special military police. mp and notll swa entirely thick. could get a lot of health problems on your feet with this -- you could get a lot of health problems on your feet with this.
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japanese zero came at you. marines hit the ground. that is one of them shot down. you see way up there. the american flag and the japanese flag. you can always tell they are coming. we stood call them washing machines coming in -- we used to call them washing machines coming in. carried anhey incendiary bomb and dropped. these were all clear for the landing. there were no such things as rock on these.
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that is as much the happen here until you got further inland. in furthernt through up the hill. support from the artillery that landed here. the thingsome of that we started during the war. many times and sometimes the japanese soldiers would come up themselves and get a hind our .ines and get picked up
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they didn't shoot and they put them through so there were survivors of that. times, it is a wonder that i have been here. george: you are on the beach that you are 61 years ago. is there anything terribly important you would like to say? i would like to say i was very reluctant before. we went off the advice of the traditional by theies performed medicine men. i was advised not to return to killing, but i
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kept that for a long time. break, what would be the consequences? he did not tell me what will grandfather said you are going to be facing these kinds of obstacles to roger lifetime. -- throughout your lifetime. in that way.line i was sort of torn between education and the religion part of my life. i always say that i was church oriented and went to a church oriented school.
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that is the way i came into the marine corps. we discussed at length whether it is at the table, shall i go shall i not? enjoying --re today but i am here today and join your hospitality and invitation for us to be part of the program that would be your endeavors to create a further development of the project and i am to enhance the education of the future generation. the woman behind the new deal: the life of frances perkins, fdr's secretary of labor and his george: you were a language
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specialist. share some of that with us. samuel: sometimes you can up to because and it was hard the rivals and machine guns. getting the message from the , theyleader or whatever rpsnt many years in the co and they knew what to do and they would give us a message with two of us here. they gave us the message.
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one of us had to send it back to headquarters as we moved forward to the mainin headquarters. the general or whoever is in command here, whether it is a ornel or officers -- cornel officers and we communicated with the ships that we need supplies. we would call them for artillery service wouldr come in. it was trees and vegetation and jungle. .locate where
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it was fortunate that we didn't get any injury. with my grandmother at home, she was on educated, she said you ,ave to do one thing for you .nd that is how many that i tried to recall .ere today it might get to meet some time and it has happened to me
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before. , without any disturbance or noise or whatever , i would hit my wife in bed. that is when i would get in that thinking about it. many times she stopped. so there are support services help.an provide the medical people are supporters of me in the medical communities also through my area. 1945, youom 1942 to were almost in every major
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, ading that took place rather stunning resume, i must say. guam in 1944, i don't know what number it was, but did you think maybe enough hadenough -- that you landed in done your duty a number of times, or did you really feel what you are doing here was critically important? let mein response, back off a little. battle i major thought, what am i doing here? i should be home hurting sheep. earding sheep.
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it was scared. if anyone ever tell shoot they want, i was scared the first combat. here withed up coming the support of some of my angloes, mostly the comrades i have that were very supportive of me. the major sergeant of my crew, my friend said, you and that rifle is the only friend you have, and i carried it out to the war. telephone,io and a but he said, very important, so
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bumped offpect to be because the marines supported us. they supported us and respected us in every way. ask any question .bout the code george: perhaps you can tell us what it means to you to have througharine and lived these terrible battles he .articipated in what is it that sticks with you? well, at the end of the
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war, i was given a piece of paper and a pen. a colonel called me in and gave me deeper. sir, you can have your pen and paper back. i am going home.
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on top of that, being cautioned colonel upon leaving .hina, a hush-hush that is why the secrecy rested 23 years. on the experience here, i wasn't afraid because i but otherrotected , i think they would rather get shot than me.
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that is the way it was. announcer: you are watching interviews with world war ii navajo code talker samuel sandoval conducted between 2004 and 2006 for a project of a journey of remembrance. the interviews took place at his home in new mexico and on the island of guam, where he traveled with other code talkers and their families. sandoval ins is sam person. say this is part of my education. coming to the school where the -- any word of navajo was forbidden.
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we continued that way through school through six years. , ands a boarding school one of the mission schools that to sixthd all the way grade. , we were cautioned to not speak a word of navajo all the first day. school, ie i started didn't know a word of english, and i couldn't understand. i went to my brother and my one sister. father had a limited education and he wanted us to continue our education. my mother is not here.
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she was deceased at the birth of my sister. navajostarted talking ever since we learned how to talk. , and in we continued went throughout school at that mission. these are the students i went back to. schoolated out of that when i came back to my old requestecause of the the marine corps wanted navajo starting at the age of 17 years of age. these all went to boarding schools in the same place that i graduated. i graduated with this one. he was in college when he joined the marine corps. only eight ofnd
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us past when we took our physical. we did not know what we were i informedough, but the school what they requested. them were 16 years of but they were in the 10th grade and the 11th grade. and this photo here? samuel: this photo continued my life. at the age of 18, i went to the service for as to how much time
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i had before they drafted me. i didn't want to be drafted because i was influenced by marine corps personnel in nevada where i worked for short time. i wanted to join the marine corps and my mind was made up. time, i joined and i went through the selective service. reason they asked me. they wanted more boys and i went back to them. that is how i recruited those guys myself. today, feels them are survivors. survivors. them are
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there are two or three. prior to the long invasion, i started out at guadalcanal. but stilll secured under fire all of the time. to guadalcanal, i later moved on to a settlement , and it was my first frontline duty. me that i wasn't scared, i was. that let anyone tell you when you are in that situation you are not scared. as time goes along, you get adjusted and you take it as it is.
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it was our duty to do the job. -- from guadalcanal, they called me again to get my ready and head out again. this time, i didn't where i was briefing on the two of ushey said were going. there were always a pair of code talkers going to each combat. meantime, guadalcanal was a rest camp. secured guam and then a rest
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camp in guadalcanal. we took the rest camp took guam there to buy that was secured. from there, i was called again to go again. they camp in choir and briefed us in and said we were open to open our -- in open kinawa. with other units in the army. were 10 of us in one headquarters that i served with,
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and always to together. some stayed behind. we went back to guam, and what we would do when we returned to these islands where the rest , we trained among some moreto teach because new words were coming in. we had to revise and even in combat conditions. we learned thep, new words so we knew what to say.
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wonder, thinking over there days as a codee talker in marine, i believe in myself that i was committed. at first i was reluctant because that i lefttion back home. of 1860, negotiation and for u.s. government big -- and forbidden to bear arms as the whole people. i kind of adjusted to it. i was there for a job and it was my duty.
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the teaching of my elders, grandfather, father, mother, not to look at a deceased body. there were some taboos that i had to break. hard, but i went back on my navajo teaching men. it and have to adjust to you are there and there are no way you can avoid them. you had to crawl over them, walk over them, and there they were. so that was my personal experience with the enemy in our own comrades. , we left theime
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secured in the army that took over for this grapplers -- the stragglers. that is the way it was in the marine corps. now we are going to the back room of the house where there are some more things to see that there. posted on the wall are the memories of the navajo. guam and i had a very of being where i
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1944.landed in very cherished memory that i have your. i will show that to you. emotional.ory and this is the standard of guam and when we were pacing iound the shoreline that first stepped on in the evasion
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-- in the invasion. i wife and i talked about what happened on the island. it is the memory that brought me back. some of the tears that i saw when i landed looking back. this is the napkin that we used, , we went through emotionally and we wiped our tears with that and we saved it as the memory of a year ago today when we were there. george: i am going to ask you a question about cortez cultural center. you titled your speech using
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language as a weapon. tell us about what you do at talk to thehy your people who come to the cultural language as at weapon, ok? cortez talking about cultural center, located in the invited colorado, i was to navajo week. home, andiles from my we traveled there. things, beingof my wifeup there,
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informed them that i was a cold talker, thede director there, and they said they wanted to hear from you. that is the way they learned the program. theirearted using us of and gave us a slot of one hour every day that we went up there. makelained and tried to come we werend how so unknown for 60 some years. that we talk time code not declassifying the
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they understand is a fan andwords from they are coming from all over the united states. some of them come back twice. even the local population -- they come in. -- i don't know where this should be inserted -- the navajos won't come. once in my sessions. george: tell us why you think they don't come. , thereecause culturally
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is a disconnect between war and the navajo culture, and they don't want to talk about war? help us understand why you think they are not coming to the sessions. i heard in in an a wife out here and he said, sam, you should never talk about it. just keep it a secret. it is our language. that is the way they understand it. that becauseress the navajo didn't have any abcs in their language.
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neither do they have military terminology. so they take it that they know all about code talkers. that is my feeling. you go out among them and they love it. they thank you for it. the locals don't invite us. there were five or six novel navajo schools. us an invitation to the outlying schools but not the local schools.
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us andurches invited some workgroups came from california. they put them together and he wanted to hear about the code talkers. that is one thing about some churches here. , we went back to guam. , i was told the .raditional way i had a ceremony over me, three-day ceremony. i was very disabled, both mentally and physically.
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so my grandmother and my parents all came up for the ceremony. the medicine man, several of they -- saying and saying don't talk about it. get well. don't ever go back to where you fought the enemy. when the call for the code talkers to return to the battlefield i was in ready to go.
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i was in harmony. i was back home and i felt good, my navajo people and among my relatives. athought that might have problem if i go back. , it put me iny between and got caught in a way we want to share a film, a , to the world into the young bull because -- young people because they don't know what a code talker is.
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as time went on, my wife and i sat down together and eight lunch and breakfast and supper and talked about this. .he was willing to go i was hesitant. i didn't want to. it took several months before i was talked into it. it has done me very good. i spent a birthday there one .ear on guam up and it kept
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going on in my is it ok that you get encouraging made. it might do you some good. stuff thatbored some not completely well i guess i might say. at the age that i was in. we talked about it. the encouragement and the really of my wife here helped me in some way. if there were going to be we had doctors over
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there. when we landed, when we can to the island, it was entirely different. it was a beautiful place. everything went out of me. the negative part. i enjoyed it. i loved it. until i hit the beach. where i landed. i started realizing from the someto the landing boats of my comrades never made it to the shore. that is when my tears started coming.
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i have shown a several of you that pierce -- piece of tissue that i wiped my tears on. that is part of my memory. we put it in a jar and it is here. that, i was altogether a different person. in fact, nothing that my disability. it is going going going. result and walked on the beach. he wasn't what it used to be. the trees were there and the hills.
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quite a few days before without the others -- the other division. experienced.i one thing i forgot to mention. there and listened. they had bigger problems than i had. that made me feel good. how they suffered, what they went through, torture and all of that. we listened to them. we asked them questions. they reallyd
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had more problems than i had. that's what i picked up also. this six part series on the navajo code talkers continues next week when we hear from albert smith. he enlisted at the age of 15. the program airs next saturday at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. you can watch today's program again by visiting our website c-span.org/history. cracks american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend. all of our programs are archived on our website at c-span.org/history. you can watch lectures in college classrooms, tours of historic sites, archival films,
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and see our programs. that is c-span.org/history. >> next on the presidency, three of george h w bush's former aides discuss their time with him. the george w. bush presidential center hosted this 40 minute event. >> when it comes to president bush 41, there is no greater treasure trove of story then in addition to secretary baker, which was a real treasure, the former aides to president bush. tom had a long run as president bush's aide from 2000 to 2007, which included a number of disaster relief initiatives from around the world. today he is the managing director at avenue capital. moderating tonight is the director of a leadership program here at the bush institute. she is qualified

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