Code Talker Samuel Tso – Navajo Oral History Project

Code Talker Samuel Tso was born on June 22, 1922, at Black Mountain near Many Farms Ariz.

Code Talker Samuel Tso at  Hogan

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

Tso was Zuni Tachiinii and born for Nakai Dine’e.
He enlisting in the USMC in March 1943, Code Talker Tso went through basic training and Navajo Code Talker school.

He served in the USMC 5th Marine Division. He signed on with the Recon Company and was sent to the Pacific Theater. He served in Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Pelelui, Guam, and Okinawa.

He was discharged as a Private First Class and was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the Victory Medal of World War II, the USMC Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Code Talker Samuel Tso - camera

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.


After his March 1946 discharge, Code Talker Tso continued his education earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

As a teacher and then as a teacher supervisor, Code Talker Tso worked there thirty years.
Code Talker Tso remained active in education, serving as a school board member for
Many Farms High School in Many Farms, Arizona.

Code Talker Samuel Tso at home

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

Code Talker Tso traveled throughout most of the U.S. conducting presentations about the
Navajo Code Talkers and about his life experiences before and after the war.

He holds several relevant documents about the Navajo Code Talkers and contributed to the Back to the Battlefields documentary. Code Talker Tso was a member of the Marine Corp League and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1677.

Code Talker Tso was also a leader in the Navajo Code Talkers Association and the
Navajo Code Talkers Foundation.

Samuel Tso passed away at age 89 on May 9 2012 at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M.

Source: The Navajo Nation Government

This documentary film was researched, photographed, edited and produced by students of Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) and Diné College (Tsaile, Arizona, Navajo Nation) during summer 2009.

It contains stories Harry Walters of Cove, Arizona, told the students during several hours of interviews about his life.

This documentary film is archived at the Navajo Nation MuseumNavajo Nation LibraryWinona State University Library, and Diné College Library, and will be archived at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The film is part of the Navajo Oral History project, a multi-year collaboration between the Winona State UniversityMass Communication Department and Diné College– The official Tribal College of the Navajo Nation


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