Happy birthday, U.S. Marine Corps, from Navajo code talker and Marine Veteran Thomas Begay.

Earlier this year, The American Veteran had the opportunity to sit down Begay at his childhood home in New Mexico. The Battle of Iwo Jima Veteran spoke of his experiences joining the classified code talker program during World War II.

Begay recalled arriving at his first Marine Corps assignment.

“I walked in and there were all kind of Navajos. I didn’t know [any] of them. I looked at my orders and said ‘I must be in the wrong place I was supposed to go to gunnery school.’”

“There was a Sergeant,” Begay shared. “Sir, I’m supposed to go to gunnery school, Marine air craft.”

“No,” he said, “you are in code talker school. It’s confidential, nobody knows about it.”

Begay shares his story with us in the new episode of VA’s The American Veteran. Watch it here or watch the full episode on VA’s YouTube channel.

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Published on Nov. 10, 2017

Estimated reading time is 0.8 min.

Views to date: 199


  1. Dorothy McGary December 7, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you, may God bless you and Semper Fi

  2. Walter Beach November 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    May God bless you and all the code talkers for your courage and patriotism while serving our nation.

  3. GORDON FOUTS November 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm


  4. Roger November 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm


  5. Joseph A. Chaplow November 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

    The Marine Code Talker singing the Marine Corps Hymn was extremely emotional for me!

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