Chouinard, Robert

Robert “Boots” Chouinard was born December 21, 1923 in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  He was the youngest of 8 children.  His father was employed in a paper mill and as a barber.  Robert attended various schools, including Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia, where he played football on a scholarship.  He said that he went from being a boy to a man at 18 during his senior year, as the war was getting underway.  During that time, Robert was employed at a tool shop working on Pratt-Whitney engine parts. When his time to serve came, his mother did not want him to enlist in the US Marine Corps, so instead he joined the US Army.  He received his training in El Paso, TX on 90mm anti-aircraft guns, shooting at targets being led by airplanes. He was assigned to the 128th AA Gun Battalion and was transported overseas on the Queen Mary in April 1944.  Robert arrived in Scotland and went to Salisbury, England with the 29th Division.  They were training for the D-Day but they did not pass a gun inspection and were held back until D+4.  Once in France, he was stationed at Cherbourg to protect Patton’s 3rd Army.  At St. Lo, Patton broke through, and Robert was assigned to the 4th Armored Tank Division.  He crossed France and went from Nancy to Metz, to help with supplies and air cover.  Robert was on the periphery of the Battle of the Bulge and crossed the Rhine at Remagen, and several of his very memorable stories took place in this final phase of the war.  Before coming home, he was assigned to a German prison camp in Cherbourg, where the Americans established football teams and played 4 games a week.  From there they boarded Liberty ships in Le Havre, France for a 13-day transit across the Atlantic in rough seas to NYC.  One of the coaches at the camp in France helped Robert out,  enabling him to enter Boston College, where he was #52 on the football team.  Robert Chouinard was interviewed over zoom by Crestwood students in October 2023.