Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
  • Unit of Service: 297th Platoon; Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division
  • Location of Service: Tarawa Atoll (Gilbert Islands); Saipan, and Tinian (Northern Mariana Islands); Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands); Pacific Theater
  • Highest Rank: Corporal

View full service history

"When I joined the Marine Corps in 1943 the guys that were already there were teasing us - they were saying 'you’ll be sorry!' All I can say to you guys going in today is 'you’ll be sorry!'" (Video interview, 11:10)

Wilfred Billey was born in 1923 near Sanostee, New Mexico, and attended boarding school at the Navajo Methodist Mission School in Farmington before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1943. After completing the training to become a Code Talker at the Navajo Communication School, Billey was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, with whom he took part in the battles on Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa. After returning from the war, Billey finished high school, then went on to get a bachelor’s degree and start his career in education. He worked as a science and industrial arts teacher, as a guidance counselor, and also attained a master's degree while working full-time. Billey eventually became an administrator, serving as the principal of Shiprock High School for fifteen years before finally retiring in 1990.

About this Item

Title

  • Wilfred Eli Billey Collection

Names

  • Farmington Museum
  • Billey, Wilfred Eli
  • Wilsey, Bart
  • Renner, Luke

State of Birth

  • NM

Home State

  • NM

Headings

  • -  Billey, Wilfred Eli
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Marine Corps.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Race

  • American Indian and Alaskan Native

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
    • Unit of Service: 297th Platoon; Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division
    • Location of Service: Tarawa Atoll (Gilbert Islands); Saipan, and Tinian (Northern Mariana Islands); Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands); Pacific Theater
    • Highest Rank: Corporal
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1946
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Manuscript: Transcript [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected 2004)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 12/16/2004)
  • Manuscript: Biography [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected 2002)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 12/16/2004)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/51394

Cite as

  • Wilfred Eli Billey Collection (AFC/2001/001/51394), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Farmington Museum, Wilfred Eli Billey, Bart Wilsey, and Luke Renner. Wilfred Eli Billey Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.51394/.

APA citation style:

Farmington Museum, Billey, W. E., Wilsey, B. & Renner, L. (1943) Wilfred Eli Billey Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.51394/.

MLA citation style:

Farmington Museum, et al. Wilfred Eli Billey Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.51394/>.