Skip to main content

Chesley, Larry, 1938-

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1938-

Biographical History

Larry Chesley (1938-) was an Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War, and was a POW for 7 years.

Larry Chesley was born on September 27, 1938 in Burley, Idaho, to parents Verl Russel Chesley and Susie Baugh Chesley. He graduated from Burley High School in 1956, and directly joined the United States Air Force. During his service, he was deployed in California, Japan, and Germany. He married JoDene Neilson in October 1960, and they later divorced. He graduated with honors from Weber State College in Ogden, Utah, and then went back to the Air Force officer training school, graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG). On April 16, 1966, he was shot down over North Vietnam, where he stayed as a prisoner of war for nearly 7 years. He was returned home on February 12, 1973, and went on to marry Alice Annette Huntsman on June 19, 1973, in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple. He went to Arizona State University to receive a master's degree in business, and spent a lot of his time giving religious firesides, talks, and lectures about his POW experience all over the country. In 1981, his wife and young son died in a car accident, and he remained faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He retired from the Air Force in 1982, and then served in public office, being elected as Arizona State Senator from 1992 to 1996.

Citation:
POW network, via WWW, accessed June 12, 2019 (born on September 27, 1938 in Burley, Idaho to Verl Russel Chesley and Susie Baugh Chesley; graduated from Burley High School in 1956 and joined Air Force; deployed to California, Japan and Germany; married JoDene Neilson in October 1960; graduated with honors from Weber State University and went to AF officer training school, becoming a DMG; April 16, 1966 was shot down over North Vietnam; POW for 7 years; returned February 12, 1973; married Alice Annette Huntsman on June 19, 1973 in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple; received MD from ASU in Business; lectures, firesides all over country; 1981, wife and little boy die in car accident; remains faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

VoteSmart, via WWW, accessed June 12, 2019 (served as Arizona State Senator from 1992-1996)

UPB Files, accessed June 11, 2019 (retired from Air Force in 1982)

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

Larry Chesley papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 9060
Scope and Contents Contains letters, personal accounts of life experiences, government awards and documents, newspapers clippings, and photographs, all documenting the life of Larry Chesley. The letters mainly regard Larry's time overseas as a POW in North Vietnam (1966-1973), talking about family life and world events as he is away. The letters also offer congratulations after his return home, and condolences after his second wife and little boy died in July 1981. Awards and documents contain information...
Dates: approximately 1944-2011

Larry Chesley awards, approximately 1955-2003

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 2
Scope and Contents

Materials contain various awards from universities and government departments given to Larry Chesley, such as Arizona State University and miscellaneous pilot trainings (ROTC, etc). Materials also contain books about Vietnam prisoners of war and Chesley's personal published work, "Seven Years in Hanoi." Dated approximately 1955-2003.

Dates: approximately 1955-2003

Larry Chesley books, approximately 1971-1976

 Series — Box: 2, Folder: 5-8
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 3
Scope and Contents

Book topics include the experiences of being a Vietnam POW, and also the events surrounding the Vietnam War itself. There is also a book containing signatures of the people of Hartford, Connecticut, expressing their gratitude to all POWs who returned, and those who did not. Dated approximately 1971-1976.

Dates: approximately 1971-1976

Larry Chesley letters, approximately 1944-2005

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 1
Scope and Contents

Materials contain letters to Larry as he is retained as a POW in North Vietnam from 1966 to 1973. Letters are from his parents, and family members, and also from the Department of Air Force. The series also includes letters of congratulations upon his return home in 1973, as well as letters of sympathy as his second wife and little boy die from a car accident in 1981. The series also contains histories on both Larry and his late wife Annette Huntsman. Dated approximately 1944-2005.

Dates: approximately 1944-2005

Larry Chesley magazines, 1968-2002

 Series — Box: 6
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 5
Scope and Contents

Materials include various magazines which discuss events and opinions surrounding the Vietnam War and the government affiliation with foreign countries. LIFE, TIME, and Newsweek are some of the magazines included. Dated 1968-2002.

Dates: 1968-2002

Larry Chesley newspapers, 1959-2011

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 4
Scope and Contents

Materials contain newspaper clippings related to Larry Chesley's life and issues of Idaho newspapers covering world events. Materials dated 1959 to 2011.

Dates: 1959-2011

Larry Chesley photographs and audio-visual media, approximately 1958-2001

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 9060 Series 3
Scope and Contents

Materials include photographs upon Larry Chesley's return home in February 1973. Homecoming parades, and his recognition at certain events are topics of photographs. Chesley also records his experiences as a prisoner of war in audiocassettes and one compact disc. Dated approximately 1958-2001.

Dates: approximately 1958-2001