The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Chet Houser Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

July 16, 2015


Chester William Houser was born in 1948 in Albany, Oregon. Raised on a half-acre farm, Houser attended Albany High School, graduating in 1966. He enrolled at Oregon State University that fall, supported by a scholarship provided by a transportation company. The scholarship stipulated that Houser work for the company during the summers and also major in Agricultural Economics.

While at OSU, Houser lived in the agriculture fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, serving as house president during his senior year. Houser also joined ROTC during his sophomore year and, as graduation approached, he decided to pursue a career in the military. Houser completed his degree in Agricultural Economics in spring 1970, at which time he also received his commission into the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant.

The first phase of Houser's military career was based at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served as a Motor Pool Officer, responsible for $160 million worth of armored vehicles. In 1973 he was sent to Korea, returning to Fort Carson a year later. He later spent three years in Heidelberg, Germany, working at a war planning headquarters. Houser then reported to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for advanced war planner training, and ultimately stayed for five years more as an instructor of armored tactics and the air-land battlefield. Houser later attended the Naval Postgraduate School, earning a master's degree in Systems Analysis with a specific focus on anti-tank infantry weapons. After another term of service at Fort Leavenworth, Houser retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in September 1990.

Houser worked for twenty more years as an Oregon public employee, holding positions as a training officer with Oregon OSHA as well as the state Vocational Rehabilitation Department. He concluded his civilian career in 2010 as a trainer for the Oregon Parks Department. In retirement, Houser has remained involved with a number of activities, including a term of service as board president for the Monteith House in his hometown of Albany.