Sunday, June 8, 2014

He Served His Country

Looking at History

Post copyright by Doris McCraw

For those who know me, history is a big part of my life. As we honor the people who served our country both overseas and at home, I want to take a moment and remember a Colorado native whose service is not widely remembered.

Born in Mesa County Colorado in 1918 his family moved to Fremont County before he was five.He had two siblings, a brother and sister, but he was the oldest. The family had a restaurant in Florence, Colorado. The whole family helped out, with the parents meeting each other as they changed from morning to evening shift.

At thirteen he got a job in the local theater house and worked for the family owned theaters even after returning home from the war. It took five years to graduate high school because he was working. To find a job in 1931 during the depression is a feat in itself.

He joined the marine corps prior to Pearl Harbor and was stationed in California. A year later he was stationed on the staff of Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner:,  

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthursign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies  officially ended the Second World War.

While on staff it was decided that in addition to written reports, they also wanted photos of the missions. He learned his craft as a photographer while on the ship from Pearl Harbor to the Pacific Theater. Fortunately there was a sailor on board who had studied photography who helped with the learning process of not only how to shoot the photo, but develop the negatives.

By the time he reached  Iwo Jima he had learned his skills well. He earned the bronze star with a V for valor of Iwo Jima. According to his son, his father said he had went ashore on Iwo prior to the invasion to photograph the area.  He also photographed the surrender of the Japanese aboard the Missouri.

Upon returning home he resumed his work in the movie theaters and practiced the skill of photography he learned aboard ship. He died June 30, 1992 of cancer.

Who was this man? Karol W. Smith, best known as the man who helped created the first state film commission in the United States and was Colorado's first state film commissioner.

Main Street in Buckskin Joe

You can read more about Smith in the book: "Film and Photography on the Front Range"
It can be purchased at or


Cher'ley said...

It's good to have to work for what you get in life. I admire him. Thanks, Cher'ley

Renaissance Women said...

He was an amazing person, one not many remember. Thank you for stopping by. Doris

Anonymous said...

I love learning about the lesser-known characters in history. It's what my own blog is geared towards. Thanks for sharing

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you. Each piece of history is important and all the players. Doris