Sophie Yazzie was born in 1914 and grew up herding sheep in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. She graduated from Wingate Boarding School in 1934. After graduating, Yazzie worked as a hostess at various restaurants in Window Rock, Arizona. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, Yazzie decided to join the United States military.
Before enlisting in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, later known as the Women’s Army Corps, Yazzie attempted to enlist in the Marine Corps. She originally wanted to be a Navajo Code Talker, like her clan nephew Johnny Manuelito. However, the Marine Corps denied Yazzie. She continued working as a cook in Gallup, New Mexico, for two more years until Manuelito suggested she join the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.
Yazzie traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in January 1943 and the Army swore her in at 28 years old. She then completed basic training in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Army assigned Yazzie to Foster Field in Victoria, Texas, which is now closed. During her time there, Yazzie cooked for future fighter pilots.
After Yazzie received her honorable discharge in 1945, she married and started a family. Yazzie worked as a cook at her alma mater, Wingate Boarding School, until she was 70 years old, before going back to growing food in Canyon de Chelly. In 2013 and 2014, Yazzie participated in the Coalition for American Indian Veterans of Southern Arizona. She was inducted into the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the Women’s Memorial Library in 2014.
Yazzie passed away in January 2020 at the age of 105 as the oldest female Veteran in Arizona.
We honor her service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to email@example.com with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.