James Woodrow Chennault
54 Main Page
W. Chennault enlisted 1-7-42; trained at Sheppard Field
where he became an instructor; spent a year at Amarillo
TX field; then went to Salinas Kansas as Technical Engineer;
went overseas March 24, 1945 and was based in Guam.
After the War, he moved his family to Odessa Texas were
he went to work in the oilfield as a mechanic on drilling
rigs. He spent the rest of his life there. He and his
wife of 55 years, LaVesta, raised two children, Randy
and Sandy. When he got the chance, he enjoyed fishing.
Later in his life he was forced to retire when macular
degeneration made him legally blind. Despite this setback
he used his remaining sight to get around the house
and walk to the nearest coffee shop. During the last
5 years of his life, he loved going to the coffee shop
every morning and mixing with his “liars club”.
He loved his wife, family, grandkids, and the Dallas
Cowboys. When the Confederate Air Force relocated to
Midland Field, Woody got excited!! When they flew FiFi
in and based her there, he went there every chance he
could get. The last two years of his life he underwent
treatment for small cell cancer In his lungs. This never
got him down mentally or physically--he still looked
the same and had the same sense of humor. The last week
of his life, he just got tired and slightly confused.
He never suffered and died in LaVesta’s arms on
the morning of Oct. 16, 1992.
and their son Randy
As his son, I can say that my Father was an honest,
hard workingman who put his family first. We did not
live in the large house, but our home was filled wit
love and pride. He did not see color and treated everyone
with respect. He loved oilfield workers because most
of them had a sense of humor which took your mind off
the hard working conditions in the oilfield. He said
they reminded him of Low & Lonely’s crew--most
of then had a sense of humor even when flak was exploding
around them. No telling what pranks they played on each
other on Guam.
the FE's window is "Pappy & Randy"
James' nickname "Pappy" along with
the name of his son - Randy
(click photo to enlarge area)
The last lime I was with my Dad was in August 1992.
We spent half a day at the Confederate Air Force hanger
where they were changing out two engines on FiFi. Even
though his eyesight was limited, he saw every detail
about that plane. His eyes glistened when he looked
at her. He beamed with pride and excitement and was
even giving advice to the mechanics on how to change
out the engines (I don’t think they listened!)
I am confident that the presence FiFi and the memories
of the 39th prolonged his life and gave him something
to look forward to everyday.
on the steps of his luxurious accommodations
Source: Randy Chennault, son
Squadron Crew Index