Arvin Chauncey was born in 1935 in Shreveport, La. He enlisted in the Naval Aviation Cadet Training program on Oct. 1, 1955, and was commissioned and awarded his Naval Aviator Wings in March 1957.
He flew the AD-5 Skyraider on several carrier cruises before transitioning to fly the A-4E Skyhawk. Capt Chauncey began flying combat missions in the A-4 in February 1967.
On his 57th combat mission over North Vietnam, he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, was captured, and spent the next 2,104 days as a Prisoner of War of the North Vietnamese. He was repatriated during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973, and then went back on flying status and resumed his Naval career.
He attended San Diego State University for one year earning a Master of Arts Degree in American History. During the remainder of Capt. Chauncey's 31 years on active duty, he was selected for Commanding Officer assignments three times. He commanded Attack Squadron 127 at NAS Lemoore, Cal.; he was Wing Commander, Training Air Wing Three in Beeville, Tex.; and his final assignment was as Commanding Officer at the Navy ROTC unit at the University of Minnesota.
He retired on June 30, 1986, and then worked for Northwest Airlines as Manager, Aircrew Training on the Boeing 747-400 until he retired in 1997. Arvin Chauncey is married and has four sons.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity during an extremely daring escape from a prisoner-of-war stockade on 31 May 1967. Upon being shot down and captured near Kep, North Vietnam, he was taken to a series of Chinese manned gun sites and threatened. In the evening, he was turned over to Vietnamese militia with his arms bound and continually suffered severe treatment throughout the night. Awaiting the most propitious moment, he escaped into a heavy rainstorm and continued to run in the brush evading and outdistancing his captors. After the rainstorm diminished, his captors formed a hand-to-hand search line and discovered him several hours later, at about daybreak. His distinctive act of heroism in risking his life in this daring escape is an inspiration to future American fighting men. Through his exceptional courage, determination, and inspired fighting spirit, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
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