William Nolde

Colonel William Benedict Nolde
William Nolde
Born(1929-08-08)August 8, 1929
Menominee, Michigan
DiedJanuary 27, 1973(1973-01-27) (aged 43)
An Lộc, Vietnam
Place of burialArlington National Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Battles/warsKorean War
Vietnam War 

Colonel William Benedict Nolde (August 8, 1929 – January 27, 1973) was an officer in the United States Army. Born in Menominee, Michigan, Nolde was a professor of military science at Central Michigan University before joining the army. He is known for being the last official combat casualty of the Vietnam War.[1] Nolde was the last official Combat Casualty of the Vietnam War: the 45,914th confirmed death and 57,597th in the total list of Americans killed during the conflict.[2][3] Nolde was killed by shell fire eleven hours before the cessation of all hostilities in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords.

Military career

Nolde was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War. After the war he stayed in the Army where he underwent officer training and served a first tour in South Vietnam in 1965-5. After returning from an unaccompanied posting in Italy in June 1972 he was asked by Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland to return to South Vietnam as a military adviser to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Lt Col. Nolde became the senior military adviser in Bình Long Province. On 27 January 1973, eleven hours before the ceasefire under the Paris Peace Accords was to come into effect, Nolde was killed by North Vietnamese artillery fire near An Lộc[4]

While other Americans lost their lives after the truce was enacted, these were not recorded as combat casualties. During his time in the armed forces, he accumulated four medals, including the Bronze Star Medal and Legion of Merit. In 1997, Nolde was one of the first members inducted into the Central Michigan University Reserve Officer's Training Corps Hall of Fame.[5] In 2006, Colonel Nolde was also inducted into the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.[6]

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