A diarist since the age of nine and journalist early in his career, Chase Untermeyer became involved in politics and public service early on. While a student at Harvard in 1966, he worked on George H. W. Bush’s congressional campaign, then spent two summers as an intern on the Washington staff of freshman Congressman Bush. Upon graduation he entered the U.S. Navy and served aboard ship during the Vietnam War.
In 1976 Untermeyer was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Houston, serving until he joined the staff of Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1981 as executive assistant to the vice president. Other positions he held in the Reagan administration included Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Facilities then for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He resigned to work on transition planning in Vice President Bush’s campaign and was named director of presidential personnel by the new president.
In August 1991 he was nominated and confirmed 21st director of VOA, overseeing VOA, the WorldNet television and film service, and Radio and TV Martí. While he was director, VOA began radio broadcasts in Kurdish to listeners in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey and, in partnership with WorldNet, launched a jointly-produced television program to Ukraine called Window on America.
After concluding his public service in 1993, he remained in the private sector until 2004, when he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Qatar by President George W. Bush, a position he held until 2007. He is the founding chairman of the Qatar-America Institute, which aims to increase understanding of the relationship between the two countries.
Untermeyer also published a trilogy of books that chronicle his time serving in the Navy and White House underneath Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.