Laurence Choate

Sharna Johnson

Drafted, Choate says he knew it was coming, “I figured anytime.”

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Date of birth: Feb. 18, 1915
Dates of service: Oct. 1941 September 1945
Hometown: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Asiatic Pacific — Hawaii
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Unit and Specialty: Medical Corps, Fuels
After discharge: Clovis

Drafted, Choate says he knew it was coming, “I figured anytime.”.Prepared to go serve, he remembers that he wasn’t scared.

A Seventh Day Adventist, it was against his religious belief to carry a weapon, although he was glad to serve. Naming his religion on his entrance paperwork, he says that the military was aware of the non-combatant beliefs of his faith and assigned him to the medical corps without challenging or questioning him. Although he was trained in weaponry during basic, he was never put in a position where he was asked to carry a gun. His brother, also of the same faith, had not indicated his religion when inducted and had been assigned as an ordinance specialist. Both boys, the only sons in the family, served throughout the war, and even though their father passed away while they were in the service, neither were released from duty.

Although trained as a medical aid in caring for the wounded, Choate found himself in Hawaii working at a fuels station. Operating a “gas pump” it was Choate’s duty to fuel vehicles on the island. Mostly Jeeps, he remembers that it was often the drivers of officers who would come in to fill up.

Attending church on Saturdays, Choate recalls that he met a lot of good people there with whom he spent much of his spare time. He also enjoyed watching weekly boxing matches which had become a regular pastime for the men.

Choate says he always wanted to go back and visit Hawaii in the years following the war but has never managed to make it. He has no resentments over his service, saying instead “I was glad I served my country” saying that he felt fortunate to serve where he did.