Skip to main content

Larry Chesley papers

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 about POWs and benefits given to veterans. The awards also vary from his many positions as captain in the U.S. Air Force, and other honorary awards from universities (1974-1998). Newspaper clippings and photographs document the events of Chesley's status as missing in action (MIA) and as a POW (1966-1973) and then his return home on February 12, 1973, and his recognitions at events following the return. Also includes Chesley's personal accounts of his experiences as a POW and through other challenges after all the trials of death and sadness in his life, specifically in his book, "Seven Years in Hanoi," and his tapes (1974-1985). Dated approximately 1944-2011.


  • approximately 1944-2011


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Larry Chesley papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Larry Chesley (1938-) was an Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War, and was a POW for seven 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. He retired from the Air Force in 1982, and then served in public office, being elected as Arizona State Senator from 1992 to 1996. He continued to be active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)

1 half box (0.25 linear ft.)

1 oversize box (1.15 linear ft.)

1 carton (1 linear ft.)

4 folders (0.2 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged into six series: 1. Larry Chesley letters, 1944-2005. 2. Larry Chesley awards, 1955-2003. 3. Larry Chesley books, 1971-1976. 4. Larry Chesley photographs and audio-visual media, 1958-2001. 5. Larry Chesley newspapers, 1959-2011. 6. Larry Chesley magazines, 1968-2002.

Custodial History

Donated by Larry Chesley to the Special Collections department on December 1, 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dontated; Larry Chesley; December 2005.


LDS veterans history

Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th and 21st Century Western and Mormon Americana, II, B, 5, VI).

Processing Information

Processed; Meghan Hoesch, student manuscript processor and John Murphy, curator; 2019.

Register of the Larry Chesley papers
Chelsea McNeil, and Meghan Hoesch
2019 April 9
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States