Oral history interview with Chester E. McCarty [Sound Recording 02]

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Oral history interview with Chester E. McCarty [Sound Recording 02]


  • 1985-11-12 (Creation)


Audiocassette; 00:30:18

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Major General Chester Earl McCarty was born in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1905. His family moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1911. He joined the National Guard in 1921, while he was still in high school, and in 1929, he transferred to the U.S. Army field artillery branch. He and Julia Caroline Gromoff were married in 1926; they had no children. He attended Northwestern College of Law, graduating in 1929. He became an attorney with Gleason, Scarborough, McNeese, O'Brien & Barnes in Portland. He was also assistant attorney general of Oregon from 1930 to 1936. He was elected state senator in 1942, but resigned that same year when he was called to active duty during World War II. After the war, he returned to his law practice in Portland, and also served on the Port of Portland Commission. He was called to active duty again in 1951 and he served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Though he wanted to return to his law practice after the end of that war, he accepted command of the 18th Air Force in 1954. He continued to serve in the military until he was able to retire in 1966, having achieved the rank of major general. He died in 1999.

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Tape 1, Side 2. This interview with Chester E. McCarty was conducted by Bill Koen in Portland, Oregon, on November 12, 1985, and by Jim Strassmaier at McCarty’s office in Portland from August 4 to September 1, 1987. In this interview, McCarty discusses his family background and early life in Stage Gulch and Portland, Oregon, including working on the family farm during summers, his memories of World War I, and his education in Portland. He talks about selling advertisement space for the Oregonian newspaper while attending the Northwestern College of Law, and about his marriage to Julia Caroline Gromoff. He speaks at length about serving in the National Guard, beginning at age 15, and in the U.S. Army field artillery branch. He discusses serving as assistant attorney general of Oregon from 1930 to 1936, including representing the Game Commission and the state police. He also discusses working as a lawyer in private practice, where he focused on aviation law. He talks about being a commercial pilot on the side, and relates several anecdotes about emergency landings. He also discusses serving in the state Senate in 1942, including his friendship with Dorothy McCullough Lee, as well as resigning shortly after his election to serve in World War II. He speaks at length about his service in the U.S. Army Air Corps training pilots, and later commanding troops in the Middle East. He also talks about the activities of his wife, Julia Caroline Gromoff, during World War II. He then talks about returning to civilian life after the war and continuing his law practice in Portland, where he acted as defense counsel in numerous courts-martial. He talks about some of the judges he argued before, including Gus Solomon and James Alger Fee. He also discusses continuing to fly planes, as well as his service on the Port of Portland Commission. He discusses accepting the command of the Oregon Army Reserves, getting activated for the Korean War, and his continued service in the Air Force until his retirement in 1966. He closes the interview by discussing serving with Glenn Jackson in North Africa during World War II.

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Joint copyright for this interview is held by the the Oregon Historical Society and the estate of Chester E. McCarty. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted, http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/

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  • English

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