Andre C. Chappaz
|Rank||Technician 5th Grade|
ANDRE C CHAPPAZ
U. S. Army – World War 11
1885th Engineer Aviation Battalion
Technician 5th Grade T/5
Andre was born in San Francisco but was raised in France until he returned to San Francisco with his parents at 12 years old.
Andre was an art student living in San Francisco when he was called to serve in the war. When he left for the South Pacific as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers, he took his pencils, pens and drawing paper with him. Chappaz spent 4 months in Guam, eight months on Okinawa and 72 days at sea, chronicling his experience in about 100 drawings. He also helped to build airfields for B-29 bombers on the Mariana Islands and Ryukus. While on Okinawa, he was part of the 10th Army that was staging for the invasion of Japan. Hokkaido was designated as the unit’s landing area.
His assignments included: locating mines and unexploded ordinance in areas that were designated for airfield construction, providing protection to the bulldozer operators by riding as an armed guard on the equipment and participating in patrols in Japanese held areas. He was detailed to locate, establish and protect a water pipeline to one of the air bases through Japanese held area.
Chappaz says "I was young and impressionable, so I drew things that impressed me about the daily life of the soldiers. I drew about the life of my buddies as I went along. Later on, I got my mother to send me some colored pencils". His pen and ink illustrations include scenes of his comrades on patrol in the jungle, taking part in special missions and discovering land mines on the beaches of Guam. Most of his depictions were drawn from memory, as he was largely unable to draw in the field.
Tech 5 Chappaz’s awards include: Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific (w/2 bronze service stars), WWII Victory Medal, Japanese Occupation Medal, Marksman Badge (M-1 Rifle) and Meritorious Service Patch.
After the war, Andre returned to Art School on the GI Bill. He then worked as an advertising artist working in design and illustrations. At 96 years old, he does not plan on slowing down! He still downhill skis every winter and belongs to a local biking club.