|Chester Hoover, January 1943|
|Chester Hoover Dressed For A POW / MIA Parade 1998|
|Last Name: `
|Street: 211 FIRST AVE N||City & State: GREYBULL, WY||E-Mail:|
|Zip: 82426||Phone: (307) 765-2110||Spouse:|
|Conflict: WW II||Service Branch: Army Air Corp||Unit: 381 BG. 532 SQ.|
|Theater: ETO||Where Captured: HOLLAND||Date Captured: 06/25/43|
|Camps Held In: STALAG LUFT 3 AND 7A||How Long Interned: 674 days|
|liberated / repatriated: liberated||Date Liberated: 04/29/45||Age at Capture: 20|
|Medals Received: PURPLE HEART MEDAL, AIR MEDAL, AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL, AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL, NATIONAL DEFENSE MEDAL, WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL, PRISONER OF WAR MEDAL, EUROPE - AFRICA -MIDDLE EAST CAMPAIGN MEDAL WITH 5 STARS, WHICH ARE FOR: AIR OFFENCE EUROPE, NORMANDY, NORTHERN EUROPE, RIGHINELAND, AND CENTRAL EUROPE|
|Military Job: BOMBARDIER||Company:|
|Occupation after War: RANCHING AND CONSTRUCTION|
Chester Lytle Hoover was born in Greybull, Wyoming Sept. 15,1922. Greybull was an oil boomtown, surrounded by cattle and sheep ranches. All of Chesterís early life was spent on a ranch where he loved to ride horses. He was proud of the fact that he broke his first wild horse when he was ten years old.
He attended school in Greybull, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940. When World War II broke out, he went to the Aviation Cadet Flying School and graduated as a Bombardier January 2nd, 1943. He became an original crewmember of the 381st Bomb Group, activated in January of 1943 and flew to England in April to join the 8th Air Force.
On June 22nd, Chesterís plane was shot down, two were killed, and except for Chester, the remaining crew was captured immediately. Despite an intense pain in his back, sustained when he hit the ground, he evaded being captured for three days and two nights. When he was finally caught, Chester had become partially paralyzed and could not stand up. The Germans took him to Dutch hospital in Rotterdam. A full body cast was molded around him from his neck to his legs and was told that he must wear this for an entire year. This altered his plans for an immediate escape.
After a brief stay in the hospital, he was transferred to the German interrogation center at Dulag near Frankfort. After interrogation he was re-united with his crew. The next day a large group of Allied Officers were packed into train cars, and moved east to Stalag Luft III, a prison camp for Allied Air Force Officers.
Because of lice, Chester had to cut the cast off. This resulted in a backache that would plague him for the rest of his life.
This camp was evacuated on January 29, 1945 to prevent the Russian Army from liberating the many thousand Air Force Officers.
After enduring a forced march through a blizzard for four days, they were packed into boxcars, 80 men to a car, and proceed to prison camp 24 miles north of Munich known as Stalag 7A. About 16,000 prisoners of all nationalities were held here until April 29, 1945, when the camp was liberated, and they were free.
Chester arrived home on June 15, 1945 and was married to his faithful fiancťe on July 7, 1945. To this union, two daughters were born. His wife passed away in 1953, and after selling his ranch, he went into the construction business. In 1966 he took a job as Excavation Supít. in Viet Nam. He was employed here until 1972, when he moved to Thailand, and then to West Irian. In 1975 he was married in Bangkok, and returned to the U.S. He was later forced to retire because of ill health and became an avid golfer.
In 1988 he survived two Sudden Cardiac Death episodes and had an AICD implant. He lost his second wife in an auto accident in 1996, and now lives alone in the town of his birth, Greybull, Wyoming. Still golfing.
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