Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Marine Corps
  • Unit of Service: Headquarters Battalion, 5th Marine Division
  • Location of Service: Camp Pendleton, California; Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater; Japan
  • Highest Rank: Corporal

View full service history

"We finally wrote a petition… over 6,000 names went into the Senator’s office - that’s how we got the Medal." (Video interview, 37:56)

Samuel Billison was born in a hogan on the Navajo reservation near Ganado, Arizona in 1925. After joining the Marines, he was initially unenthusiastic about becoming a Code Talker, but became intrigued by the Code after learning some of its intricacies. In February and March of 1945, Billison participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima with the 5th Marine Division. After the war, he became an educator, earning a PhD in education, and working as a teacher, principal, and administrator. Serving on the Kinlichee school board and Navajo Area School Board Association, he was acclaimed for his efforts in reorganizing the education system on the Navajo reservation. Billison played a key role in ensuring that the Code Talkers' legacy would live on. He joined the Navajo Code Talkers Association in the late 1970s; as the organization's president for many years, he helped organize the efforts to get the Congressional Gold and Silver Medals approved for the Code Talkers.

About this Item

Title

  • Samuel W. Billison Collection

Names

  • Library of Congress
  • Winkler, David
  • Billison, Samuel W.

State of Birth

  • AZ

Home State

  • AZ

Headings

  • -  Billison, Samuel W.
  • -  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: Headquarters Battalion, 5th Marine Division
    • Location of Service: Camp Pendleton, California; Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater; Japan
    • Highest Rank: Corporal
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1946
    • Prisoner of War: No
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Video: MiniDV [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 05/30/2004)
  • Video: VHS [1 item] -- Reference copy (collected 05/30/2004)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/68227

Cite as

  • Samuel W. Billison Collection (AFC/2001/001/68227), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • video
  • pdf

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:

Library Of Congress, David Winkler, and Samuel W Billison. Samuel W. Billison Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.68227/.

APA citation style:

Library Of Congress, Winkler, D. & Billison, S. W. (1943) Samuel W. Billison Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.68227/.

MLA citation style:

Library Of Congress, David Winkler, and Samuel W Billison. Samuel W. Billison Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.68227/>.