Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay to speak at event in Tucumcari on Nov. 2 - Albuquerque Journal

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay to speak at event in Tucumcari on Nov. 2

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay salutes during the national anthem at the Arizona State Navajo Code Talkers Day celebration on Aug. 14, 2022. Begay will be the guest of honor at an event sponsored by Mesalands Community College on Nov. 2. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

November is the beginning of Native American Heritage Month.

Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari is sponsoring an event with Thomas H. Begay from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Tucumcari High School’s Rattler Gymnasium, 1101 S. 7th St., in Tucumcari.

Begay is one of three living Navajo Code Talkers.

He is slated to tell stories of his service as a Marine in World War II and an Army soldier during the Korean War.

Begay was born in a hogan in a remote area near Two Wells in 1927.

After attending boarding school in Fort Defiance, he persuaded a Marine Corps recruiter to allow him to enlist when he was about 16 years old.

Begay made it through the Code Talker training course, and was assigned to the Signal Company for the 5th Marine Division.

At 18, Begay found himself on the front lines in Iwo Jima.

Hey was discharged from the Marines in 1946, but joined the Army a year later, where he worked as a communications specialist again, but also qualified as a paratrooper. With the Army, he again experienced intense combat with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea, including at the Chosin Reservoir in late 1950. His experiences in Korea persuaded him to finally leave the military in 1953.

The college invites the community to the event, as more than 900 students from across the state will be in attendance.

“Mesalands College is excited to work with our community and state to host this once-in-a-lifetime event, November is Native American Heritage Month, and we are honored to celebrate the unique cultural perspective of a New Mexico Navajo,” Mesalands officials said in a statement.

There will also be a drawing for authentic Navajo jewelry with proceeds benefiting Begay, so he can continue his volunteer work traveling and sharing his story with the world.

If you are interested purchasing $1 tickets for the drawing, please contact Maria Haase at 575-461-6615 or Judy Ross at 505-507-3825.

Congresswoman Teresa Leger-Fernandez will also be giving a short address following Begay’s presentation.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay to speak at event in Tucumcari on Nov. 2

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
How close to Albuquerque come to a record-high temperature?
ABQnews Seeker
Temperatures in the Duke City reached ... Temperatures in the Duke City reached 63 degrees, said Jennifer Shoemake, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. That was the warmest ...
Study says New Mexico turning blind eye to several ...
ABQnews Seeker
A UNM study argues that the ... A UNM study argues that the state government, in its efforts to meet climate goals, stops short of requiring cuts to greenhouse gas emissions ...
5 things going on in Albuquerque this week
ABQnews Seeker
From hoops to a mid-week show, ... From hoops to a mid-week show, here’s what’s happening in the Albuquerque next week.
Pedestrian killed on Central on Saturday night
ABQnews Seeker
A man was struck and killed ... A man was struck and killed by a truck in southeast Albuquerque on Saturday night. No charges have been filed against the driver, who ...
APD's no-plate crackdown; state police say ABQ-Santa Fe speeders ...
ABQnews Seeker
Starting Feb. 6, the Albuquerque Police ... Starting Feb. 6, the Albuquerque Police Department "is cracking down on drivers operating vehicles in the city without proper license plates."
Homicide suspect in custody after woman found dead in ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Rio Rancho Police Department is ... The Rio Rancho Police Department is investigating after a man surrendered to law enforcement and officers found a deceased woman with a gunshot wound ...
From Hogwarts to Zelda: 5 upcoming video games dropping ...
ABQnews Seeker
In "Hogwarts Legacy," you take over ... In "Hogwarts Legacy," you take over as a fifth-year Hogwarts student ready to make a name at their school.
US downs Chinese balloon, drawing a threat from China
ABQnews Seeker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military ...
Captions contest
ABQnews Seeker
OPINION: Go to and click ... OPINION: Go to and click on the photo to send us your suggested caption.