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First Name: William

Last Name: Nolde

Birthplace: Menominee, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Benedict

Date of Birth: 08 August 1929

Date of Death: 27 January 1973

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
William Benedict Nolde

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


William Benedict Nolde
Colonel, U.S. Army

William Benedict Nolde was born on 8 August 1929 in Menominee, MI.

Nolde was a professor of Military Science at Central Michigan University before joining the U.S. Army. He is known for being the last official combat casualty of the Vietnam War.

As an officer, he served in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, acting as an Advisor to the South Vietnamese forces in the latter.

Nolde was killed by shell fire at An Loc eleven hours before the cessation of all hostilities in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords. He was the last official American combat casualty of the war - the 45,914th confirmed death during the conflict. While other Americans lost their lives after the truce was enacted, these were not recorded as combat casualties.

Nolde was on the promotion list to Colonel at the time of his death and was posthumously promoted.

Medals and Awards

Legion of Merit

Bronze Star

Purple Heart

Air Medal

Vietnam Service Medal

Vietnam Campaign Medal


• In 1997, Colonel 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 inducted into the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

• The William B. Nolde Lecture Series has the purpose to promote an understanding of the role of the U.S. Armed Forces in the life and history of the U.S. and to recognize the tie between military science and the broader disciplines within the university. The lectures serve as a stimulus to intellectual activity for future leaders both in the military and across the Central Michigan University campus and community. This program is sponsored by the university's Military Science Department.

• At Central Michigan University the William B. Nolde Scholarship was established in memory of the Colonel by students, family and friends.

Death and Burial

William Benedict Nolde was killed in action on 27 January 1973 in An Loc, Vietnam. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, (his widow Joyce was buried beside him in 2005).

As the last official combat casualty, his funeral was broadcast on television and attended by "more brass than the funeral of a field-grade officer would normally command" including President Richard Nixon and General Alexander Haig.

Honoree ID: 2909   Created by: MHOH




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