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Bills Creek Bridge over I-64 Dedicated

Sue Chandler and Delegate Kathie Hess Crouse

Whenever Dan Chandler returned from a deployment with the Air National Guard, he would have to drive over the Bill’s Creek bridge which spans I-64. He always said that whenever he crossed this bridge, he felt like he was home again.

It is only appropriate then that this bridge be named in his honor.

Earlier this year, the West Virginia Legislature approved the naming of the USAF CMSgt Dan Chandler Memorial Bridge. To commemorate this momentous occasion, a dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, May 4. The program was held at Judson Baptist Church on Bill’s Creek Road, and featured a presentation led by Chandler’s wife, Sue. Other speakers included Pastor Brian Dean of Grace Baptist Temple of St. Albans; Chief Deborah Turrill of the 130th Airlift Wing WV Air National Guard; American Legion Department Commander of West Virginia Matt Sampson; Chief David Boyles (Ret.) of the 130th Airlift Wing; Bill Combs, Past Department Commander of the West Virginia American Legion; and Chief Marshall Adkins (Ret.) of the 130th Airlift Wing.

The speakers shared many stories about Chandler and their memories of him. Over the course of his military career, Chandler served in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, and the War in Bosnia. After retiring from the West Virginia Air National Guard, he became involved in the American Legion, where he became well-known for the patriotic and educational slideshows he would put on in schools. The dedication ceremony was attended by many of his friends, relatives, former neighbors, church members, classmates, fellow military, and members of the American Legion.

Towards the end of the service, a commemorative road sign was presented to Sue Chandler by Delegate Kathie Hess Crouse, who sponsored the bill to name the USAF CMSgt Dan Chandler Memorial Bridge. As the first part of the ceremony drew to a close, attendees left Judson Baptist Church and drove to the interstate bridge, where the new sign was unveiled by Delegate Crouse and Sue Chandler. Members of the Winfield Post 187 presented the colors and concluded the dedication ceremony for the USAF CMSgt Dan Chandler Memorial Bridge.

The American Legion participated in the dedication ceremony.

Both Dan and Sue Chandler have a personal connection to Bill’s Creek. When Sue was a child, the bus she rode would take this route to school. She says that she remembers watching for signs of spring while riding the bus. Judson Baptist Church also has a special connection to the Chandler family. Sue has fond memories of attending Vacation Bible School at the church in her youth. Later in life, she and Dan got married at Judson and attended services there.

As time passed, Dan and Sue would decide to make the Bill’s Creek area their home. Dan wanted to restore antique cars and needed a garage where he could pursue this hobby. One day the couple were driving through Bill’s Creek and saw a for sale sign for a house on what would be later known as Rebecca Drive. They decided to check out the property and ended up purchasing the house. This location became their home for thirty-one years.

After the dedication ceremony, Sue said that it was good to be back in the church where she and Dan were married. The experience was very nostalgic for her, and she was pleased with the number of people who attended the service.

When remembering her husband, Sue said, “Dan loved to travel. He loved nature. He loved people. He was in heaven talking to veterans and school kids. Kids gravitated towards him. He would try to motivate high school kids. He was an inspiration to a lot of people.”

Following will be a biography of Chief Master Sergeant Dan Chandler.


Chief Robert D. “Dan” Chandler was born in St. Albans, West Virginia and graduated from St. Albans High School in 1963. In 1966 Sergeant Chandler enlisted in the United States Air Force. He became a Combat Ready C-130E Loadmaster and was stationed at Langley Airbase in Virginia. In February 1969, Sergeant Chandler was assigned to the 774th Tactical Airlift squadron where he flew missions from the Philippine into Vietnam. While serving in Vietnam, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. In 1970 he was honorably discharged. He left the Air Force with a rank of Staff Sergeant.

Sergeant Chandler enrolled in Morris Harvey College (now University of Charleston) and graduated with a degree in geography in 1972. He also became a full- time employee of the West Virginia Air National Guard during that time. Sergeant Chandler retired from the Air National Guard in 2005 serving as State Command Chief Master Sergeant.

When Chief Chandler retired, his career included service in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the War in Bosnia. He had flown to all fifty states and seventy-seven countries, accruing 11,140 flying hours. During his almost 40 of military service, he received many medals, awards, and commendations, including another Air Medal during the Persian Gulf War.

Chief was selected as Outstanding Airman of the Year for the state of West Virginia in 1986 and again in 1991. He was presented the Distinguished West Virginia Award by Governor Gaston Caperton in 1996 and the Distinguished Mountaineer Award from Governor Jim Justice in 2017.

After retiring, Chief Chandler became an active member of the American Legion. He was a member of Post 73 in St. Albans until he moved to Putnam County and joined Post 187 in Winfield. He became known for his patriotic programs, and he and his legionnaires traveled West Virginia doing presentations at schools, churches, and other events. While on the Post Honor Guard, he participated in over 600 funerals. He represented West Virginia at American Legion National Conventions. He spent several summers serving as counselor at Mountaineer Boys State. He was a life-long member of Grace Baptist Temple in St. Albans. He loved to sing and belonged to the Homeland Southern Gospel Choir.

Posthumously, Chief Chandler was awarded the West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal by the West Virginia Air National Guard, and was also inducted into the St. Albans High School Hall of Fame.

Chief Chandler and his family made their home on Bills Creek for 31 years. He passed away in January of 2022. He is greatly missed by his family and friends. He left behind his wife of 44 years, Sue, two daughters Kara Adkins (Chad) and Rebecca Wilson (Ben) and three grandchildren Jessie and Sam Adkins and Emily Wilson, and also, his brother, Michael and sister, Gail Wechsler and families.

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