Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army and Coast Guard Veteran Charles Smith.

Charles is a dedicated serviceman who served in three wars: World War II, Korean War and the Persian Gulf War. During World War II, he was a seaman with the U.S. Merchant Marines. He later joined the Army and served in the Korean War. He then transitioned to the Reserve for eight years where he achieved the rank of master sergeant. About 40 years later, he would again answer the call the duty to serve in the Persian Gulf War. As a seaman aboard the USS Maine, he helped delivered necessary supplies to the Gulf War Zone.

In an interview for the Veterans History Project, Charles detailed his experiences during World War II and Korean War.

He enlisted at the age of 17, in 1945, with the Coast Guard Merchant Marine. Initially, he did not meet the minimum weight requirement but his determination to serve led him to stuffing his pocket with marbles. He said, “I didn’t have a pocket knife or any money, but I had marbles, and I weighed 121 pounds.”

In 1952, Charles was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to Company M, 224th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division and worked as a radio operator in Korea.

For his service in World War II and Korean War, Charles received numerous awards including: Merchant Marine Pacific and Atlantic War Zone Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, and National Defense Service Medal.

Charles recently celebrated his 90th birthday in Texas where he currently resides. He continues his commitment to service by aiding fellow Veterans through his work with various Veterans associations. He has helped hundreds of Veterans with their benefits. When his health permits, he still visits federal and state prisons in Texas to counsel incarcerated Veterans.

Thank you for your service, Charles!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

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Published on Feb. 5, 2017

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

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