Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953
  • Branch of Service: Marine Corps; Army
  • Unit of Service: 5th Marine Division
  • Location of Service: Fort Benning, Georgia; Korea; United States; Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater
  • Highest Rank: Corporal

View full service history

"I want to show you, I’m going to join the Marines, because I’m old enough!" (Video recording, 1:57)

Thomas Begay was born in a traditional hogan in a remote area near Two Wells, New Mexico in 1927. The exact date of his birth was not recorded. He persuaded a Marine Corps recruiter to allow him to enlist when he was most likely just sixteen years old, helped by the fact that--in Begay's words--"my age was flexible." Soon after turning eighteen, Begay found himself on the front lines in the midst of apocalyptic combat on Iwo Jima. Begay was discharged from the Marines in 1946, but a year later joined the Army, with whom he again experienced intense combat in Korea, including at the Chosin Reservoir in late 1950. Begay later worked as an employment assistance officer and senior administrator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Navajo reservation.

About this Item

Title

  • Thomas H. Begay Collection

Names

  • Eaton, Michael
  • VA Healthcare System, Southern Arizona (SAVAHCS)
  • Brian, Mike
  • Begay, Thomas H.

State of Birth

  • NM

Home State

  • NM

Headings

  • -  Begay, Thomas H.
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Marine Corps.
  • -  Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.

Notes

  • -  Veteran's biographical form lists race/ethnicity as Navajo.

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: 5th Marine Division
    • Location of Service: United States; Iwo Jima; Pacific Theater
    • Highest Rank: Corporal
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1946
    • Prisoner of War: No
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Location of Service: Fort Benning, Georgia; Korea
    • Prisoner of War: No
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 04/25/2013)
  • Manuscript: Printed matter [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected 03/16/2013)
  • Video: DVD [1 item] -- Reference copy (collected 04/25/2013)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/89835

Cite as

  • Thomas H. Begay Collection (AFC/2001/001/89835), 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:

Eaton, Michael, Southern Arizona Va Healthcare System, Mike Brian, and Thomas H Begay. Thomas H. Begay Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89835/.

APA citation style:

Eaton, M., Va Healthcare System, S. A., Brian, M. & Begay, T. H. (1943) Thomas H. Begay Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89835/.

MLA citation style:

Eaton, Michael, et al. Thomas H. Begay Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89835/>.