In Memory of
U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel
Chester Martin Beaver
Yankton, South Dakota
Yankton County
March 26, 1914 – July 31, 1944
Killed in Plane Crash on Funafuti, Ellice Island

Chester Martin Beaver

Chester Martin Beaver was born March 26, 1914, at Broken Bow, Nebraska, to Chester A. and Gladys Beaver. His father, Chester A., had been a former officer of the 147th Field Artillery. Chester Martin graduated from Yankton High School in 1932 and from the University of Nebraska in 1936. According to the Yankton paper, “During his school years he served with Battery ‘E’ of the 147th F.A., and he took four years of military training at the university.”

Chester apparently entered the service under the auspices of the Thompson Act in 1932 and “was one of few to receive a permanent commission as second lieutenant in the infantry the following year.”  Beaver served overseas in the Pacific theater for twenty-six months, returned to the United States for a leave in the summer of 1944, and then returned to duty in the Pacific, attached to the 126th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Infantry Division. “Early in his overseas career, [he] served as an aide to Major General E.F. Harding, who was then in command of the 32nd Division.” Lt. Col. Beaver went on to serve General S. Bradley who wrote to Chester’s parents, “He is my second in command, a ‘top hole’ battalion commander.”

During his service, the Lieutenant Colonel, who had been awarded his rank as a battlefield promotion, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross “for leading a patrol through mud and water under enemy fire to within 100 yards of Buna village” and the Silver Star for “outstanding service in the defense of his country.”

Shortly after his return to the Pacific theater and just prior to being assigned his own regiment in New Guinea, Lt. Col. Chester Beaver was killed in a plane crash  on July 31, 1944, near Funafuti, Ellice Island,  in the Pacific. He is buried at N 48 at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, Fallen Sons State Coordinator, Spearfish, SD. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment, the Daily Republic, Rapid City Journal, and the Yankton Press and Dakotan.