PHOENIX – Representative Myron Tsosie released a statement regarding the recent passing of his grandmother, Sergeant Sophie B. Yazzie. Yazzie, a decorated World War II veteran and the oldest female veteran of the war in Arizona, passed away on Jan. 25.
“Sophie B. Yazzie, who was 105 years old, born on Aug. 17, 1914 in Canyon Del Muerto within Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Ariz. She is of the Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House) born for the Ashiihii (Salt People) her maternal grandparents are the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water) and her paternal grandparents are the Tabaaha (Waters Edge). Her husband is the late Jordan B. Yazzie together they have four children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She lives in the beautiful community of Black Rock on the Navajo Nation. She attended Chinle Boarding School in Chinle, Ariz. through elementary, in the fall of 1928 she continued her education at Ft. Wingate Boarding School in Fr. Wingate, New Mexico where she graduated in 1935.
Sergeant Yazzie was sworn into the Army on Jan. 22, 1943 in the Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, New Mexico. On that same day, she left for basic training in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps to begin her training as a cook and continued her AIT (Advanced Individual Training). She then transferred to the Foster Air Force Base near Victoria, Texas and at the time the Air Force and Army were separating is when she was Honorably Discharged and returned home to the Navajo Nation to work at her Alma Mater, Ft. Wingate High School where she retired after 30 years of service.
Her medals and decorations include: Women’s Army Corps Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Navajo Nation Service Medal.
In 2013 and 2014 she participated in the Coalition for American Indian Veterans of Southern Arizona, in 2014 she flew with World War II Veterans to Washington, D.C. where she was inducted into the ‘Women in Military Service for America’ at the Women’s Memorial Library, in 2016 she was the Special Guest in the Commander’s tent at the Davis Monthan Air Force, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 she honored at the Iwo Jima Flag Raising parade in Sacaton, Ariz. as the oldest World War II Veteran and was the Grand Marshall in Sacaton, Arizona and Navajo Nation Parade in 2017. Her military history is recorded in the Veterans Heritage Project: a book which becomes part of the history of our nations, by recording the lives of soldiers, ensuring that their stories live on for future generations.
The State of Arizona recognizes the service, life and legacy of Sophie B. Yazzie who courageously served and unfaltering devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions in the United States Air Force and Army during World War II. Sergeant Yazzie shall be remembered for her bravery and sacrifice she exhibited in defense of the United States of America.
Sergeant Sophie B. Yazzie passed peacefully in her daughter’s home in Tucson, Ariz. in the early morning of Jan. 25, 2020. Services will be held in St. Michaels, Arizona at the St. Michaels Mission, burial will be at the Ft. Defiance Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Date and time of services are currently pending.
‘The Navajo Nation and United States of America lost a Hero, Sergeant Sophie B. Yazzie. My Nali (paternal grandmother) was the longest-living World War II Veteran in Arizona. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister and veteran who proudly served in the Air Force and Army. The legacy she leaves behind will forever be remembered, each one of her family members, relatives and friends have a place etched in our hearts where she will forever remain. Prayers to my Black Rock family.’”