TEC5 Andre Chappaz

1885th Aviation Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army

Andre Chappaz was born on September 14, 1925 in San Francisco, California. As a child of French parents, his family moved to Paris in the early 1930s, but when it became apparent that the French military could not hold off the Germans, they decided to return back to the states. On December 7, 1941, Andre was 16 years old having lunch when a radio program was interrupted announcing the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. After high school, he attended art school at the Academy of Fine Arts and joined the Army in 1943.

Andre served with the 1885th Engineer Battalion which was responsible for building airfields on Guam. He also served in Okinawa and built runways for the B-29s landing in the Marianas. Using his art background, he chronicled life in the war through his drawings.

While in Okinawa, preparing for the invasion of Japan, Andre attended a movie night watching “My Pal Wolf” when the familiar “ack, ack” sounds began and they saw tracers over the water. At first, they thought it was an air raid, but it appeared in a “V” and his fellow soldiers screamed, “The War is Over!”

After the war, Andre finished art school through the GI Bill and spent 30 years in the field.