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
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. In 2006, Colonel Nolde was also inducted into the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.