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First Name: Clyde

Last Name: Choate

Birthplace: West Frankfort, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Anna, IL
Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 28 June 1920

Date of Death: 05 October 2001

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Clyde Lee Choate

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Clyde Lee Choate
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Staff Sergeant Clyde Lee Choate (28 June 1920 - 5 October 2001) was a U.S. Army soldier who was awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Clyde Lee Choate was born on 28 June 1920 in West Frankfort, IL, one of twelve children born to a coal miner. He joined the Army from Anna, IL. On 25 October 1944, Choate was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company C, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. On that day, near Bruyères in Eastern France, his tank destroyer was hit and set on fire in an attack by German forces. He ordered his crew to abandon the destroyer and reached a position of relative safety, but then returned through hostile fire to the burning vehicle to make sure no one was trapped inside. Seeing a German tank overrunning American infantry soldiers, he single-handedly attacked and destroyed the tank.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Place and date: Near Bruyeres, France, 25 October 1944.

Citation: He commanded a tank destroyer near Bruyeres, France, on 25 October 1944. Our infantry occupied a position on a wooded hill when, at dusk, an enemy Mark IV tank and a company of infantry attacked, threatening to overrun the American position and capture a command post 400 yards to the rear. S/Sgt. Choate's tank destroyer, the only weapon available to oppose the German armor, was set afire by 2 hits. Ordering his men to abandon the destroyer, S/Sgt. Choate reached comparative safety. He returned to the burning destroyer to search for comrades possibly trapped in the vehicle risking instant death in an explosion which was imminent and braving enemy fire which ripped his jacket and tore the helmet from his head. Completing the search and seeing the tank and its supporting infantry overrunning our infantry in their shallow foxholes, he secured a bazooka and ran after the tank, dodging from tree to tree and passing through the enemy's loose skirmish line. He fired a rocket from a distance of 20 yards, immobilizing the tank but leaving it able to spray the area with cannon and machinegun fire. Running back to our infantry through vicious fire, he secured another rocket, and, advancing against a hail of machinegun and small-arms fire reached a position 10 yards from the tank. His second shot shattered the turret. With his pistol he killed 2 of the crew as they emerged from the tank; and then running to the crippled Mark IV while enemy infantry sniped at him, he dropped a grenade inside the tank and completed its destruction. With their armor gone, the enemy infantry became disorganized and was driven back. S/Sgt. Choate's great daring in assaulting an enemy tank single-handed, his determination to follow the vehicle after it had passed his position, and his skill and crushing thoroughness in the attack prevented the enemy from capturing a battalion command post and turned a probable defeat into a tactical success.

In a ceremony at the White House on 23 August 1945, President Harry S. Truman presented Choate with the Medal of Honor for his actions near Bruyères.

Post-Military Life

After the war, Choate left the Army and began a career in politics. In 1946, he was elected as a Democrat to the Illinois House of Representatives. He remained in the Illinois state legislature for the next thirty years, and served as both majority leader and minority leader. He then retired from politics and became the director of external affairs for Southern Illinois University.

Choate and his wife, Madonna, had two daughters, Kim and Elizabeth.

Death and Burial

Clyde Lee Choate died on 5 October 2001 in a hospital in Carbondale, IL, from the complications of congestive heart failure. He is buried at Anna Cemetery in Anna, IL.

Honoree ID: 1331   Created by: MHOH




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