Chardoul, Paul (Interview transcript and video), 2021


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Chardoul, Paul (Interview transcript and video), 2021


Smither, James (Interviewer)
WKTV (Wyoming, Mich.)


Paul Chardoul was born in Waterloo, Iowa on August 17th, 1939. He graduated high school in 1957. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Michigan and his master's degree from Michigan State University in 1964. While writing his master’s thesis, he joined the Naval Reserves as a seaman recruit and attended training in Lansing. He spent six months in the Reserves during which he took the officer battery test, scored well, and went to officer candidate school in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1964. For his first assignment, he was based in Norfolk, Virginia on the ammunition ship U.S.S. Diamond Head. He did several cruises into the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Mediterranean Sea. He returned to the U.S. in December 1965, and was transferred to the U.S.S. Chesterfield County, an LST (tank landing ship) based in Little Creek, Virginia. He departed for Chu Lai, Vietnam on February 11th, 1966. On the way he stopped in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Subic Bay, Philippines. In Vietnam, his job was to load cargo on trips called “milk runs” and drop it off at various places, such as Phan Rang, Nha Trang, and Cam Ranh Bay. He also traveled to Sasebo, Japan several times for ship repairs, stopping in Taiwan on the way. After the final milk run, he went back to Japan and spent over a month repairing the ship because it had gotten severely damaged. Chardoul then left sea duty and became the assistant fleet historian of the United States Pacific fleet in September 1966. He got off active duty in June 1967. He returned to Michigan State to begin working on a doctorate in history, but in 1969 his friend asked him to teach at Grand Rapids Junior College, so he began working there and never finished the dissertation. While working as a professor, he stayed in the Naval Reserves, where he taught courses at the Naval Reserves Officer School and the Naval War College, served as the commanding officer of a shipboard repair facility in Muskegon, went to colleges across the state to recruit for the Navy, worked as the coordinator of retention for the state of Michigan, and reorganized a small unit outside Detroit to become a headquarters unit for Naval Forces Europe. Chardoul also served as the commanding officer for a unit based in Charleston, South Carolina on the Spruance-class destroyer U.S.S. Nicholson.




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Chardoul, Paul N., “Chardoul, Paul (Interview transcript and video), 2021,” Digital Collections, accessed April 23, 2024,
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