Marion Twitty Yates was born in Darlington, South Carolina, on 7 May 1909, son of Marion M. and Fay Lee Yates. He was graduated from the University of South Carolina and received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of the State of South Carolina. Commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) in the Medical Corps of the US Navy on 17 January 1937, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from 1 January 1952.
Reporting in January 1937 to the US Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, he served for two months as a Ward Medical Officer, then had four months at the Navy Yard Dispensary, Brooklyn. He was a student at the Naval Medical School, Washington, DC, from September 1937 until May 1938, after which he was ordered to the Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. He remained on duty there as Medical Officer until July 1940, then returned to the United States to serve until March 1941 as Ward Medical Officer at the Naval Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina.
He was a student of Industrial Medicine at Harvard University, Boston Massachusetts (School of Public Health) for three months, and in August 1941 returned to duty at the Navy Yard, Charleston, as Industrial Medicine Officer. Remaining there during the early period of World War II, he joined USS Achernar (AKA-53) in January 1943, and served as her Medical Officer until December 1944, participating in convoy and transportation operations in the Atlantic Area, and in the Invasion of Normandy and the Invasion of Southern France in the summer of 1944.
Detached from the Achernar in December 1944, he reported in March 1945 to the Commissioning Detail at the Naval Station, Newport, Rhode Island, and in August 1945 became Senior Medical Officer of USS Macon (CA-132). In January 1947 he was detached and the same month reported to the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois, where he served as Medical Officer until July 1950. For a year thereafter he was Chief of Medicine on board the hospital ship USS Repose (AH-16) during operations against North Koreans and Chinese Communist forces, under the United Nations’ Command.
From October 1951 until June 1952 he had instruction at the Postgraduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, completing the course in Internal Medicine. In July 1952 he was named Chief of Medicine at the US Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and in December 1954 was transferred to the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia. On 21 March 1956, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Air Station, Miami, Florida, where he was assigned at the time of his death, 14 December 1957.
Captain Yates received Letters of Commendation, with Ribbon and Combat “V” for service during World War II and the Korean Conflict, and was entitled to the Navy Commendation Ribbon with star. In addition, he had the American Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two operation stars; the American Campaign Medal; Korean Service Medal with silver star (five engagements); and the United Nations Service Medal. He was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action.