Chester M. Ovnand

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Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand was born to Engebret Ovnand (October, 1881 - November,1967) and Maybelle Welch in November 1914.

On March 1, 1940 he and his wife Catherine Irene Reynard (June, 1917 - November, 1994) bore a daughter, Margret Ann Ovnand. Five years after her birth Chester Ovnand left for Copperas Cove, Texas, where he met his second wife Mildred, who forbid him from making contact with his daughter. He returned once when Margret was twelve before leaving for war.

Master Sergeant Chester Melvin Ovnand was formerly listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as the second American killed in the Vietnam War.

MSGT Ovnand (also called Charles Ovnand, but listed on the wall as Chester) was from Copperas Cove, Texas. Army records conflict as to what his actual name was—Charles Melvin Ovnand or Chester Melvin Ovnard—though that the latter appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is possibly an indication of general consensus among the Memorial's planners.

He and Dale R. Buis were killed at Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. He was part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group sent to train the South Vietnam army. The Vietcong attacked while the two were in a mess hall watching the movie The Tattered Dress. One of them switched the lights on to change the reel when guerrillas poked their weapons through the windows and sprayed the room with automatic fire, instantly killing Major Buis and Master Sergeant Ovnand, two South Vietnamese guards, and an eight-year-old Vietnamese boy.[1]


  • MSGT Ovnand's name is misspelled "Chester R. Ovnad"[2] on the Wall (Panel 07E, Line 046).[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam A History The First Complete Account of Vietnam at War. p. 10. 
  2. ^ National Parks Traveler > By the Numbers: Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  3. ^ Chester Melvin Ovnand

Further reading[edit]

"Death at Intermission Time", Time, July 20, 1959.