93-year-old WWII vet retires from job at Fort Sam Houston

SAN ANTONIO – A World War II veteran who has dedicated his life to serving his country said he’s looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life.

The oldest Army federal employee at Fort Sam Houston retired Thursday at 93 years old.

After working 32 years as a supply service technician at Fort Sam Houston, Fred Chapal is calling it a career.

“He’s still going, still getting to work every day, still doing his job. (He’s) dedicated and loyal to his job and this organization and soldiers and Army as the day he started. That’s an example we can all look up to,” said Cmdr. Bradford J. Davis, with the 106 Signal Brigade at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

Not only is Chapal the oldest Army federal employee on base, he’s also a war hero. He served as a gunner with Company A, 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion.

“I drop a 25-pound shell into it and turn my head away and the shell comes flying out past my ear. That’s what happened to my hearing. That’s why I can’t hear you,” Chapal said.

Chapal may be hard of hearing, but he lives life to the fullest. He keeps himself busy and works out at the gym every day. He said he’s not going to let retirement slow him down.

“I got an adult tricycle. (I) ride it around the neighborhood,” Chapal said.

Chapal has been recognized for his dedication and loyalty. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor and the Medal of Honor from Luxembourg. He also earned the Coin of Excellence, Certificate of Appreciation and the Commanders Award for Civil Service.

With years of selfless service, Chapal has touched many lives. His co-workers, who he’s inspired and motivated, said he will be greatly missed.

“I’m sure when I come in the morning tomorrow, I’m going to look around and (say) 'Where's Fred?' It’s going to take us a while to get used to not having him around,” Davis said.