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.