Orville “Smokey” Choate, USMC 1943-1970
Listen to Smokey’s story or read it below.
My name is Orville Choate, I’m a retired gunnery sergeant out of the Marine Corps. I joined the Marine Corps in 1943, I served for 24 years. I retired in 1970.
I went all the way from the Midway Islands to Okinawa. I come out of high school and went into the Marine Corps. I had a brother in the Coast Guard and he didn’t do much. My father was a lieutenant colonel in the Army WWI.
I don’t talk to much. Oh, I tell ya, if I had it to do over again I’d be in the Marine Corps. They protected your back and you protected their back.
I had a son that was in the army he was a helicopter pilot. He was in that war in ‘91 in Iraq.
I like the Philippines really well. Philippines islands, beautiful islands. One of the islands about 600 miles off of the Philippine coast was called Peleliu Palau, I was there, pretty island. Worst fight they had in the Marine Corps to me. I was on Peleliu and I was on Iwo Jima and I’d rather been on Iwo Jima than Peleliu. See, Peleliu was a Jap mandated headquarters, they had everything there. Feeling like well am I gonna die or am I gonna live.
The Marines are a proud bunch, there aren’t too many of them. You know that they are a proud bunch and they sure protect each other. There was one bunch we really thought a lot of, the Navy construction bunch, Seabees. They were real good. They were just like us, they trained just like we did.
All images ©Steve Snyder, Images of the Ozarks.
I’m very proud of my dad he not only served in the Marine corps and fought for his country proudly he is a wonderful man he taught my two brothers and I the respect that we know and share today if it wasn’t for him there’s no telling what we would be doing this day and time so i want to say thank you Dad for everything you have done for us you are an awesome person and I love you
Just wanted to say I love you Grandpa Smokie. Thank you for serving our country and hopefully I will see you soon. Love you.,. your granddaughter, Jenifer.
Thank you dad, not only for your service record and your combat experiences in WWII, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam, but also for teaching me about family value, life goals, personal responsibility, obligation, work ethic and faith. You may have been gone a lot while I was young, but I never doubted that you would come home. From the Gulf, to the Pacific, the Atlantic and even to the Mediterranean, it was always grand when you returned. I remember the welcome home with family and friends, reunion dinners, and the time we spent doing fun things in between obligations. Your life inspires me, and this record is a nice tribute to your service and lifestyle. Simper Fi Gunny!