Pfc Chester A. “Chet’’ Kochan

Company F, 331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division.

Chet was born on September 15, 1925 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He went into active service on December 20, 1943 in Newark, NJ and was sent first to Fort Dix for 2 weeks, then basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Chet was sent overseas on June 14, 1944 and arrived in England two weeks later. After landing on Omaha Beach, he fought through many cities and towns, traveling through Saint-Malo, France with his unit looking for German soldiers. On August 11, Chet was shot through the neck during a street fight. Because of the fighting, the medics patched him up as best as they could and they continued the fight. By the end of the battle, Germans had captured the unit. Chet was blindfolded and thought death was imminent. They put him on a stretcher, took him to another location, and when the blindfold was later removed, he was next to his Captain. Both were on their way to an American field hospital as part of a medical trade between American and German wounded soldiers.

Chet transferred to a medical hospital in West Dean, and was treated for three months for his wounds and later became a staff car driver in England for American officers. He was discharged on February 24, 1946.