Harry Benally
(1925 - 2000)
Haashkei Yitahdeeswod -- An Experienced and Great Valiant Leader
Ta'néészahnii -- Badlands People

Harry Benally salutes the flags at the Veteran's Day Program sponsored by the students at Shiprock High School. November 11, 1996.
"I was drafted. When I finished boot camp, I was told they had a special job for me. I didn't know what it could be, but soon found out it was as a code talker."

Diné Name : Haashkei Yitahdeeswod
(An Experienced and Great Valiant Leader)
Clan : Ta'néészahnii Tódích'íi'nii (Navajo)
Ta'néészahnii (Badlands People) blood from mom Hastiin Lapahie Bitsi.
Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan) blood from dad Benalitsoh.
Schooling : Shiprock Camp School, 1936
Southern Ute Indian School, 1937-1943
Fort Wingate Vocational High School, 1943, 1946-1949
National School of Auto and Diesel College, Nashville TN
       Certificate Auto & Diesel Mechanic, 9/49 - 1/50
Service : U.S. Marines, as a Navajo Code Talker
Service Number: 894507USMCR
1st Marine Division, 1/13/1944-5/4/1946
Boot Camp, 1/1944 - 4/1944
Harry went home to Littlewater during the 10 day furlow.
Code Talker School, Radio School and Communication,
Camp Pendelton, 4/1944 - 9/1944
Combat Maneuver, San Diego, 10/1944
Moved into the Pacific, passed by Hawaii, 11/1944
Combat Maneuvers, Russell Islands
Guadalcanal and Pavuvu, 1/1945
Banika, Ulithi and Yap, 2/1945
Moved toward Okinawa, 3/1945
Okinawa and Ryukyu Islands, 4/1/1945 - 8/1945
China Occupation, 8/1945 - 4/13/1946
Heading home across the Pacific, two weeks
Discharged, 5/4/1946
 
Some of the officers that Harry served under:
       Maj. General Pedro A. del Valle
       Col. Kennerth B. Choppell
              (1st 5 months)
       Col. Arthur T. Mason
              (6th months on)
       HQs & Service Co., 1st Lt. Walton M. Rock
              (to 21st April)
       1st Lt. Euton C.M. Wellar
              (22 April to 1 J)
       Capt. Wayne B. Davis
              (from 1 J)
       HQ & Co., Maj. William F. Belcher
              (to 14th month)
       1st Lt. Richard M. High Smith Jr.
              (14th to 20th month)
       1st Lt. Marion G. Irvesdale
              (21th month till Discharge)
Awards : U.S. Silver Congressional Medal of Honor, 11/24/01
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
China Occupation, Service
WWII Victory, 1/7/1948 through American Post #86
American Defense
Unit Citation
Good Conduct Medal
Marksman
Bayonet
Married : Labor Day weekend, Sunday, September 3, 1950
Children : Harrison Benally
Erickson Benally Jr.
Katherine Irene Benally
Christine Jean Benally
     Son             Parents             Grand Parents      Great Grand Parents    GG Grand Parents   GGG GdPrnts
                                                                                  Hastiin binidiwholi
                                                           _______Hastiin________|
                                                          |                      |___________________
                                    __Hastiin Nee Begay___|                       ___________________
                                   |   (naneezhteezhi)    |_________Zuni_________|
                                   |                          (naneezhteezhi)    |___________________
              _____Benalitsoh______|                                              ___________________
             |    (todichiini)     |                       ______________________|
             |                     |                      |                      |___________________
             |                     |______________________|                       ___________________
             |                           (todichiini)     |______________________|
             |                                                  (todichiini)     |___________________
Harry Benally|                                                                    ___________________
(tahneezhani)|                                             ______________________|
      |      |                                            |                      |___________________
      |      |                      ___Hastiin Lapahie____|                       ___________________
      |      |                     |     (hoghanlani)     |______________________|
      |      |aka: AzhanBinalitsoh |                                             |___________________
      |      |Hastiin Lapahie Bitsi|                                              ___________________
      |           (tahneezhani)    |                       ______________________|
      |                            |                      |                      |___________________
      |                            |_Aszhaan Tah Na Zani__|                       ___________________
Elsie Theresa Benally (Wife)            (tahneezhani)     |______________________|                    ________
                                                                                 |___________________|
                                                                                                     |________

Harry Benally holding a lawn mower at Southern Ute Indian School in Ignacio, Colorado. 1942. Harry Benally was born to father Benalitsoh and mom Hastiin Lapahie Bitsi. His Navajo name is Haashkei Yitahdeswod, meaning "an experienced and great valiant leader". Harry is Ta'néészahnii dine'e' doo Tódích'íi'nii yaashchiin. The Ta'néészahnii clan is his mom’s relatives, and the Tódích'íi'nii clan is his father’s relatives. Harry has two sisters, them being Mary B. Henderson and Mary Henderson. Harry with his wife Elsie, and son Erickson, lived in Littlewater, Sanostee Chapter, Navajo Nation.

Harry Benally and 100th Platoon photo. Harry Benally is in the fourth row and second from the left. One day, Aszha Binalitsoh (Hastiin Lapahie Bitsi), a petite woman of only about 5 feet, was tending to her sheep with Mary, her her five year old daughter. At that time, there were over 100 sheep and goats in their flock. She had been camping at that site for several days. She wanted to stay close to the store at Tosido because she knew that her baby would be coming soon. She then went into labor pains which she beared so well. Hours later, a boy was born one mile west of the Tosido store. This occurred in the middle of the second month during the first quarter of the year. Harry would later be told that it was of this month. When Harry was eight, he waited for that month and that particular phase of the moon. When he saw that phase of the moon, he counted back eight years, to 1925, and the day and the month were, the third of August.

Harry Benally in full Marine greens uniform at Camp Pendleton. May 1944. The following are events that Harry Benally remembered of his childhood.

Ke' nitsaah:
The grandma and grandfather went to Canyon de Chelly, and the family drove their sheep to the top of Tsegi. They rode their horses down the canyon trading with the people who lived in the canyon and in Chinle for livestock. They got 50 heads of sheep and started to move them up the canyon toward the small area called Wheatfield. On the way, a lady wanted my Aszha Binalitosoh's kenitsaahi (buckskin leggings). She finally gave in and got more sheep for the ke'.

Living north of Wheatfield:
During a certain summer season, more rain and more crispy and chilling summer mornings occurred in the Chuska mountain valleys. Harry was herding sheep with his mother and his older sister. They took different post around the opening where the sheep were grazing. The opening was surrounded with evergreen and oak. The clearing was comforting to be in. Harry kept sight of where his mother was and tried to stay close to her. Suddenly the dogs started barking into the bushes. The barking got more aggressive and the sheep ran out of the bushes. The ewes and lambs were calling for each other. Then, there was a black bear that came out of the brush and ran after the sheep into the clearing. Aszha Binalitsoh shot a couple of shots at the bear. It was not frighten by the shots, and it jumped on a little kid. The bear grabbed the kid and put it under its arm and headed for the brushes. It looked at Aszha Binalitsoh and the kids before disappearing out of view. The bear really scared Harry. He asked and begged his mother to go back to Nahooljiis (Crater Valley).

Harry Benally smiling while dressed in full Marine greens uniform. July 1944. Herding Sheep - The Dream of something chasing Harry
After finishing one of their days of sheep herding, the Binalitsoh family turned in for the night. The sheep settled in close to the camp because there were no corrals nor fences. Mary and Harry were with their mother. The camp was north of Wheatfield. Aszha Binalitsoh made dinner. As they ate, they talked about the things that they did during the day. After the children ate, they feed the dogs. Aszha Binalitsoh then told a story. After the story, everyone when to sleep. In the middle of the night though, Harry started to have a dream. A nightmare as he explained to his mother the next morning. In this dream, he was in unfamiliar terrain, in a forest, but the trees were different. They looked funny. The trees were bare showing only the trunk, with leaves at the top. The leaves were huge, much bigger than he had ever seen. He was used to pine trees, spruce, juniper, cider, aspen, and oak. The trees in this forest were much denser and the ground was lush. He then heard something coming through the forest. He was not familiar with the sound. He saw the "thing", yet he didn't know what it was. He never had seen anything like this, so he didn't know what to call it. The "thing" kept chasing him as he tried to get away from it. He went up a hill, down into a wash, and the "thing" continued to follow him. Harry woke up in fright! In the morning, he told his mother the dream. The mother carefully listened and replied to his son, that she didn't know what was chasing him, but was glad that it didn't catch him. Years later, upon Harry's arrival at Camp Pendleton, Harry saw a tank and believed that his dream as a younger boy was the tank (the thing) that chased him.

Harry Benally in greens taken in July of 1944. The Coyote gets the Sheep
At Toalsisi kaandi, Mary and Harry were herding sheep. They had been tending the sheep all morning. They took the sheep from the corral to the water hole to drink and slowly graze on the desert grass as they slowly walked back toward the sheep camp. Around noon, Mary and Harry were to take turns for their lunch breaks. Harry went back first to the sheep camp while Mary stayed behind to watch the sheep. Harry had lunch and was getting ready to go back to where the sheep and Mary were, when Mary arrived at the cabin for her break. As Mary arrived home, Aszha Binalitsoh saw a coyote attacking the flock with no sheepherder watching them. She got after Mary because she wasn't suppose to leave the flock until Harry got back. Aszha Binalitsoh chased Mary back to the flock. Harry finished up and followed Mary so she could go home, eat and rest up.

Harry Benally in greens. August 1944. Harry Benally started his schooling at Shiprock Camp School in Shiprock, New Mexico, in 1936, and then after a year he went to the Southern Ute Indian Boarding School at Ignacio, Colorado, in 1937, staying there from 1937 to 1943. He then went to Fort Wingate Boarding Vocational High School, at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, from 1943 to 1944. The following are events that that occurred while he was in school.

Harry's one year at Shiprock Camp School
One day, when Harry was 11 years old, he with his parents, went into the Tocito Store where Bichaani'tlizi (hard hat), where the local trader, told his parents to put their son in school to let him learn. The trader told the parents that a bus would be there tomorrow to pick up the children. The trader also told them to give their son a "name". One of Ashkii yitahdeeswod's (later to be renamed Haashkei yitahdeeswod) aunts was at the store at the time, and said his name will be Harry Benally. The next day, Binalitsoh saddled one of the horses and led it with Mary and Harry sitting on the horse to Tosido where a bus was waiting for the children. Binalitsoh said he was going to look for some cattle that were missing and rode off on the horse. The bus took the children to Shiprock Camp School where he started school in September of 1936. The school was about 40 miles away, but for Harry, it was a long distance from home and took a long time to get there. After he found some of his relatives were going to school there, his adjustment went well.

Russel Island Navajo Code Talkers, December 1944,
Back Row (from left to right):  Dennis Housteen, Wilmer Belinda, Dennis Cattle Chaser, Jesse J. Bizardi.
Front Row (from left to right):  William George, Alfred Tah, Harry Benally, Billy James, Jimmie D. Bennallie (not in picture) Wanting to go to the Methodist School but ending up at Ignacio, Biina
The following year, they had to transfer to a different school, although he wanted to go to the Methodist School he end up at Biina, Ignacio, Colorado. He and his sister, Mary, were transferred to Ignacio. He went to school in Ignacio from 1937 to 1943. Although he wanted to go to the Methodist School in Farmington, where Wilfred Billey (his Bikiis) was, his parents took him to Ignacio, which Harry thought as being so far away. As in Shiprock, he found some of his relatives and friends who were also going to school there, so he kept close to them and made the adjustments.

Being sick at Ignacio
One year at Southern Ute Indian School, Harry was very sick and had to be placed in isolation. When his parents came to see him, and they were not allowed to see him. Harry and his parents could see each other but they couldn't visit. Harry was so sad because he wanted to run down the hall and hug them. During this sickness, Harry saw shadows moving around in the buildings. They moved through the walls looking to take lives. Sometimes they appeared as he slept.

Harry Benally at Russell Island with Jimmie D. Benallie. December 1944. One event that happen while he was at Fort Wingate Vocational High School, was when a group of Navajo boys ran away from school. These young boys were tracked by wolves, when later one would be killed by wolves. Days later, one in a starving condition, was rescued by the federal agents and returned to the school. The employees at the school would repeatedly tell the students about the two boys who ran away and were attacked by the wolves to keep them from running away, to stay in school.

Inevitably, when the Navajo boys who attended Fort Wingate turned of age, they were targeted by the military recruiters for drafting into the U.S. military armed forces. At this time, when Navajos were not citizens of the United States and not allowed to vote, military recruiters were going throughout the federal boarding schools, recruiting young Navajos and Native Americans to fight in a war that was foreign to them.

Harry Benally in greens standing in the streets of China, November 1945. Harry, Arsenio Smiley, and Frankie Chee Willeto, received notice to go to Gallup to get their physical examination. There was no bus, van, or any type of vehicle that came to pick them up, so they had to go to Gallup on foot. They began walking while it was snowing in freezing temperatures. They started running until Arsenio and Harry left Frankie about half a mile behind, so they walked until Frankie caught up with them. They walked for a while until the third guy started to run again. This time, Harry paced and stayed behind the other two so they wouldn't get separated and leave anyone behind. They came to a store in Churchrock, where the current New Mexico State Police office is, and took a break, warmed up, and had sodas to drink. The store owner asked the three boys where they were heading. They replied that they were going to join the Army. The man told them to be careful and thanked them for their business. They started out again for Gallup, first walking and then picked up the pace to a jog, with Harry pacing behind the other two. When they got to the Gallup, they took their physical examination at the recruitment center. They all passed and were assigned to the U.S. Marines. They then went back to Fort Wingate on foot. They had to walk back to Gallup when it came time to report to duty and be sent to San Diego for boot camp.

Harry Benally in greens on bicycle rickshaw in China. February 1946. Harry served with the U.S. Marines as a Navajo Code Talker from January 13, 1944 to May 4, 1946, in the Pacific Campaigns of World War II against the Japanese Imperial Army. For the first few months from January 29, 1944, to April 1944, Harry received his U.S. Marine boot camp training at Camp Pendleton, and his general Communications training, near San Diego, California. It was there that Harry would be promoted to Private First Class. During the ceremonies upon finishing Boot camp, Harry was scared and shaking inside as the General came down the line of men while checking the rifles and throwing it back to the Marines. Harry hoped that he wouldn't make a mistake. The General came up to Harry and asked if he was Navajo. Harry replied, "Yes sir". The General said, "Relax son, I have a special assignment for you", and nodded to the Marine following him who noted something on a piece of paper. They proceeded to the Marine standing next to Harry. Harry did not know what this special assignment was and went home to Littlewater for 10 days. Harry's next assignment was to go to Camp Pendleton near San Diego. Upon his arrival, he was surprise to see the large number of other Navajo Marines. In his words, "Tanidee John nidaakai". Harry was processed, assigned a bunk, and debriefed that he was to attend the Communication School. The late John Benally, a Navajo Code Talker, was drilling the Navajo Marines and instructing military terms in the Dine' language. John Benally and other Navajo Marines came up with the idea on how to develop a code. First, they came up with an alphabet list. Second, they assigned words to other military terms. As the war proceeded, the code remained fluid and was modified a number of times to accomodate for the changes, and especially to prevent any break or interception in the transmission of their communication.

After Harry passed the Communication School, he was assigned to participate in combat maneuvers along the Pacific coast. The movement across the Pacific was long as the Marines detached toward the pacific campaigns. Other men got sea-sick or came down with other illnesses, but Harry was fine. He would often walk around the ship between duties and after meals. One evening, they had chicken dinner. Harry remembered the dinner was delicious, but this time he made the mistake of going to the ship's bow where the waves and the ship's up and down movement were most pronounced. Harry lost his dinner on one of the ship's downward movement. This did not keep Harry from the bow because he liked to go there to watch the dolphins swim along side the ship. They came close to the Hawaiian Islands but just passed them at a distance. Harry thought the Islands looked like the Chuska Mountains when observed from the desert below.

Harry Benally in greens just after he was promoted to the Corporal rank. February 1946. As they passed the Hawaiian Islands, a fellow soldier got very sick; therefore, they had to turn the ship around for medical treatment. The sick soldier was taken off the ship and the rest waited at Pearl Harbor for a couple of days until this guy recovered. During these two days, no one was allowed on the ship. The recovered guy joined them on the ship and their ship proceeded with their detachment toward the Pacific campaigns. They then headed to the Solomon Islands, first to the north side of Guadalcanal, and then to the west side of Guadalcanal to Russell Island, to join the First Marine Division who were there at a rest camp.

From there Harry Benally was assigned to different areas. First he was assigned to H & S Company. He did combat maneuvers, and then he was moved to Pavuvu, and then to Banika. At Banika, he spent several months there doing combat maneuvers. His unit then moved on to Ulithi and Yap. That was when the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Marine Divisions were fighting on Iwo Jima. His unit moved to the south side of Okinawa to help the Second Marine Division. They landed on the west side of Okinawa on April 1, 1945 and moved across the island in five days. As his unit started to move north, they were called upon to move back south to help the Tenth Army. They moved to Naha and Ceri Castle where they attacked the Japanese Army who had built underground tunnels. The Marines dug in, stayed in place, and flares were launched into the night sky to see if the Japanese were moving about. They shot the Japanese as they came out of their hiding places. The following are two events remembered by Harry Benally during the war.

Top Row (from left to right):  Honan, Smiley Atkins, Harry Benally, Larry Defenbough, and Bill Gender.
Bottom Row (from left to right):  Ed Murray, Gunny, and Grogg. The photos was taken in Tinsing, China, during the winter of 1945 and 1946. Harry captured 14 Japanese single handedly
One very hot day in the middle of June, William George, a fellow Navajo Code Talker, and Harry, were looking for shade on a real hot day. William George suggested and we decided to build a chaha'o (shade). After we set up the supports, we needed some leaves for the shade and we sought out some sugarcanes for the top. Harry was in the lead on a trail to the sugarcane fields carrying a machete and knife to cute the sticks. William was following from behind. As Harry looked down and started to cut the plants, Harry's saw eyes looking back at him from a hole in the ground. Harry said in Japanese, "Tadcad Ahdikoi" (come out, get in line). First one guy came out, then another, soon, fourteen Japanese came out of the hole. They probably thought Harry was Japanese! Harry glanced back for William but he was gone. Harry told the Japanese to get down on their bellies and put their hands behind their back. He was ready to shoot them when a white guy came up. Harry looked for William again, but he still wasn't around. It seemed like minutes when William came running with two more white Marines. Harry guessed that William raced back to get help. Harry though that William had abandoned him. The white Marines took the Japanese as Prisoners-Of-War to wherever they took the prisoners. Harry didn't know at that time that there were military awards for capturing the enemy. Harry didn't get any recognition or award for capturing these Japanese, but the white person took the recognition that Harry deserved.

Post card sent to Harry Benally from Sarah. The Gold Teeth
Another time, Harry and other Marines were looking over a sugarcane field and Harry had a machete and carried a rifle to set up a tripod. There were some leaves in the field that kept moving as Harry looked through the scope. Harry viewed his rifle scope over the field three times and the scope kept moving back to a same certain spot. Harry looked through the scope again and a Japanese stuck his head out of the sugar canes in the field. Harry pulled the trigger and shot the Japanese in the leg. The Japanese stood up and screamed. One of the Marines in the group shouted out, "Who made that shot", and Harry said, "I did". The Marines went down to the field to inspect the site. He was an older Japanese with gold in his teeth. A white Marine took a pair of pliers and pulled out the Japanese tooth that had the gold, then with his rifle pointed at the Japanese, sprayed his body with bullets.

Words of post card sent to Harry Benally from Sarah. Dear Son.  I was very glad to get your card.  I like to hear from you again.  I just finish writing to my sons.  We are all OK.  Hoping that this will fine you well & happy.  Good luck to you son.  Love your Aunt S.L.B. The Lone Tent that Stood the Night
One night the Marines were setting up camp for the night. Most of the elevated spots feasible to pitch a tent on the ground were taken by other Marines. The only spot available for Harry and William, to pitch their tent, was in a depression in the ground. With a little bit of dirt movement, they made a small island for the tent and made channel on both sides for the water. They turned in for the night and sometime in the middle of the night a hurricane hit the island. Harry and William heard the wind and the noises it made, then continued to sleep. In the morning, when Harry woke up, he said, there were all these Marines in their tent sleeping with them! He got up, looked around, and crawled outside to find all the tents were blown over or were flooded out except the one he and William had pitched. There was evidence of water that ran in the channels they built around the tent. When the Henderson Airbase was captured and the island was secured, the Marines had some leisure time to play baseball, attend classes or take airplane rides, which Harry did. One day, Harry joined the Marines who were playing baseball and when Harry came up to bat, the Marines started yelling and calling him, "Hey Chief, over here, easy out." He ignored them and really hit hard at the first ball that came toward him. The ball went over everyone and Harry made a home run along with bring three other guys in. Yes, he says his team won the game. After that, when Harry would go up to bat, the outfielders would start running back.

Harry Benally during graduation at Fort Wingate Vocational High School, Fort Wingate, New Mexico, May 1949. Another time a friend of Harry's was on his way to class and invited Harry to come along. Harry had not heard of the classes, so he decided to find out more about it. Harry signed up for the Math and English classes and started attending the classes on a regular schedule.

Harry rode on an airplane for the first time then too! To pass the time in between classes, duties and playing baseball. Harry and a friend decided to ride in an airplane. The pilots regularly took any Marine who wanted to ride on an airplane. They got in the airplane and took off. The pilot maneuvered the plane up and following the island's coast line. Harry was fascinated by the site of the ocean, island, and sky, from the sky.

After the operation in Okinawa, the U.S. First Marines were assigned and moved from the rest camp. Some U.S. Marines were sent to Japan, and others were sent to China. Harry Benally was sent to Taco, Tinshin, and Peking, China. In Tinshin, China, he was promoted to a Corporal. From Tinshin, the Marines were moved to Peking. Upon their arrival, Harry said as the Marines aligned themselves in order of division, the First Marine Division, the Second Marine Division, the Third, and so on. Harry was proud to be up front with the First Marine Division, First Battalion, and First Regiment. He looked forward and backward along the streets of Peking and all he could see were Marines as far as he could see. A large number of the Chinese people had come out and lined the streets to watch the Marines march into Peking. The people of China waved the U.S. flag and shouted, "Thank You!". The Marines march ended at a military base which was formerly occupied by the Chinese, then Japanese, military forces. They were again assigned quarters, bunks, and duties.

Harrys parents, Binalitsoh and Aszha Binalitsoh, and Harry Benally. The picture was taken at the Tucson Sanitorium where Harrys mother was recovering from Tuberculosis. 1952. While Harry was in China, he learned to speak some Chinese. He continued to take classes and would often go off base with other Marines. Harry wanted to visit the Great Wall of China but only viewed it through a pair of binoculars. On a regular basis, there would be a roll call of names of Marines who would be departing for the U.S. For months, Harry eagerly waited for his name to be called but only to be disappointed. Finally, on April 18, 1946, his name was called out as one of those who would be going home to America.

It took the ship that transported Harry two weeks to arrive back in San Diego, California. Some of the fellow service men had their families meet them at the port, but no one was their to meet Harry, because on the lack of communication, transportation, and funds, for his family to make a trip to San Diego. Later, Harry learned that other Navajo service men experienced the same thing upon their arrival home. On May 4, 1946, Harry Benally was discharged. The awards he received were military ribbons, and not the medals. Harry believes the lack of proper recognition and awards were, because at the end of the war, large numbers of the U.S. Marines were being quickly processed for discharge making room for errors and loopholes. Even though, Harry did received the following service, victory, and general marksmanship medals and ribbons:

Harry Benally with family.  Left to right:  Rose Mark Begay (Rexs wife) holding son Calvin, Rex Begay (Harrys brother), Harry holding son Harrison, Aszha Binalitsoh, Mary B. Henderson (Harrys sister) holding son, Stanley. Photo taken in Tucson, Arizona in May of 1952. American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
China Occupation, Service
WWII Victory
American Defense
Good Conduct
Marksman
Bayonet

Harry Benally was so glad to be discharge and was finally going home. First, Harry package all his uniforms and the personal items he had and sent them home by mail. All he had now was the uniform on his back, a small bag with a few necessary items. Harry was paid his two-year earnings in lump sum except for $20.00. His transportation fare was paid for so he took a bus to Los Angeles from where he got on a train heading back to Gallup, New Mexico. To his amazement the people he encountered dared not crossed his path and stepped aside. They were very appreciative of his service duties and thanked him. He left the base with an another Marine who was heading to the eastern coast. This guy wanted Harry to pitch in to help buy a military Jeep, but he didn't want to, so they didn't, instead taking the bus and train.

Harry Benally with former Navajo Nation President, Honorable Peter MacDonald during the January 1987 Inauguration at the Capital of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona. Once Harry arrived in Gallup, he deposited the check into a local bank and caught a bus heading northward on U.S. 666 to the small Navajo community of Littlewater in Sanostee Chapter, Navajo Nation, New Mexico. As he stepped off the bus, he noticed that his mother was tending to the sheep near their home. Harry said that his mother, Aszha Binalitsoh, saw him get off the bus. He started walking the direction of where she was and she started running toward him with great happiness to receive him and gave him a big, long hug. Harry then told her of what had happened to him and the events that took place during the last two war years and his return trip from Camp Pendleton. Soon after, his family and relatives had a niidaa held for him.

Harry wanted to finish his schooling, so he returned to Fort Wingate Vocational High School and graduated in May 1948. His interest in automobiles led him to Nashville, Tennessee to attend a Mechanic's school for seven months. It was there that he received a Mechanic Certificate from the National School of Auto and Diesel College.

Harry Benally with Arizona Congressman Hayward and his family during the welcoming ceremonies for the Navajo Nation and U.S. treaty documents back to the sacred mountains. For a year, the treaties wee available for viewing at the Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona. June 1, 1998. During the summer of 1950, Harry's parents had arranged a marriage. He was told of the marriage on one of his weekend trips to the sheep camp in the Chuska mountain. He was not pleased to hear of the arrangement and left the camp immediately only to return later and take his new bride, Elsie Theresa Dixon. Elsie's father, Taylor Dixon, and Harry Benally's parents had arranged the traditional ceremonies which took place on Sunday of the Labor Day weekend in 1950, September, 1950. Elsie, a Dine' (Bitahni dine'e doo Kiiyaahni yaashchiin), started school at Toadlena at the age of nine years. She later, from 1946 to 1950, went to Chilocco, Oklahoma. She lost her mother to illness from tuberculosis and influenza while she was at away school in Chilocco. She missed her mother dearly when she came home the summer after her mother had passed. She would go off by herself mourning for her loss. When she cried her father offered her no comfort but would instead get mad at her. She went back to school to Chilocco and stayed two full years including the summers. Her father started writing to her and the school for her return, so when school was out for the summer of 1950, she took the bus home with the rest of the Navajo students. Elsie stayed for the summer looking forward to going back to school in the fall. Elsie really wanted to continue with her school and she let her father know she wanted to go back to school, but he didn't listen. She didn't want to get married. She didn't want this man that was to be her husband. Because her father arranged the marriage, he didn't let her go back to school and made her go through with the marriage. Elsie only finished to the eighth grade. Her beginning married life would be to provide a home for Harry Benally and their five children. To make extra money, she would take care of their livestock and weave rugs. After years of raising her children and putting them in school, she went for an interviewed with the Fairchild Semiconductor Plant in Shiprock, NM. Elsie remembered she was offered a job right away and drove home with excitement that when she stopped to get gas she backed into a pole. She worked as a Hi Optics Inspector at the plant until 1975, when she started working for the Navajo Nation Social Services program. She retired from the Navajo Nation in January 1997. She is now an Artist in Basketry and Weaves in the Two Grey Hills design rug style.

Harry Benally with Carl Nelson Gorman, Thomas Begay, and Dr. Samuel Billison, in Santa Ana, California, 1995. Harry returned to the Navajo Nation to established "Shiprock Automotive", an automotive repair business, next to the former Shiprock Hotel in Shiprock. He then worked at Basin Motor in the town of Farmington, New Mexico, as a Mechanic and Dealer Interpreter. He then left that job to work at the Uranium Mill in Montecello, Utah. Harry's father, Binalitsoh, was a Grazing Committee Official from Sanostee Chapter at this time, so Harry helped his father with the interpretation and writing. From the information on the documents Harry help translate and write, he knew about the proposed Navajo Mine strip mining job openings and Arizona Public Service Power Plant job openings. Later Harry got a job with Navajo Mine as a Mechanic, Welder, and Painter, and through the years moved up to the position as Shop Foreman. In November 1987, Harry retired from Navajo Mine after working there for 25 years.

Navajo Nation President, the Honorable Milton Bluehouse, Zane Speck (Harrys grandson), and Harry Benally, during the Navajo Code Talker office dedication at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Navajo Nation. December 1998. Harry Benally was a member of the Navajo Code Talker Association, Sanostee Veterans, First Marine Division Veterans, and the Fort Wingate, Shiprock, and Farmington VFW Posts. He served as the Shiprock VFW Post Vice Commander for several years until 1998. His veterans membership involves traveling for oral presentations, parades, flag posting, presentation of the Colors, and other ceremonies and events. He traveled to Hawaii, Alaska, New York, Florida and numerous places in between, but mostly in the within or near the Navajo Nation. Harry and Elsie were especially honored to meet former U.S. President Clinton during his April 2000 visit to Shiprock, Navajo Nation. Harry was especially proud that he shook President Clinton's hand not only once but twice, then joked about not washing his hand again. President Clinton gave recognition to and made special references to the Navajo Code Talkers in their tremendous role toward peace during the Second World War and since. When Harry was home, he tended to his livestock, farm, range, homes, and camps in Toalsisi, Tsealchinaghai, and Nahoolghis. He and Elsie, his wife, have five children. Two of the daughters are Christine and Katherine.

Harry Benally and Elsie T. Benally holding a rug most recently weaved by Elsie when they sold it at Toadlena Trading Post, Toadlena, New Mexico. December 1999.

Katherine Irene Jim and her husband, Melvin Jim, have three daughters including Luciyawna, Tonniale, and Kristalyn, and six grandchildren.

Christine Jean has one son, Zane Ellistir Speck. Christine earned an Associates of Applied Sciences degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Navajo Community College in 1979, a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Northern Arizona University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health and Epidemiology from Colorado State University in 1993. She has taught chemistry, environmental science, and math at Navajo Community College in Tsaile, AZ and Shiprock, NM, and at San Juan College, in Kirtland, NM. Christine also taught via satellite a graduate level Environmental and Occupational Health course for the University of Arizona from Northern Arizona University. She has worked as an Environmental Health Scientist and Epidemiologist for U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) since 1992 in the Indian Health Service, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Health and Human Services. She served as a Vice-President of the Sanostee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, and served on numerous committees and boards while living in Littlewater. Christine worked as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned to the Texas Department of Health in Austin, Texas. Christine completed the EIS fellowship in June 2001. She served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico and Utah State University.

Harry Benally's daughter, Christine Benally, request copies of any pictures, video recordings, and/or audio tapes of Harry Benally that viewers may have taken during Harry's trips, travels, presentations, etc. across the country. At home, she is displaying the photos, medals, ribbons, uniform, certificates, and other things he was awarded over his life time.

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Creator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr. and Dr. Christine Benally
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Dated Created: 08/27/2001
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Updated: 12/01/2011
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