Chester M. Ovnand

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Master Sergeant Chester Melvin Ovnand (September 8, 1914 — July 8, 1959) 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 and was born to Engebret Ovnand and Maybelle Welch. 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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam A History The First Complete Account of Vietnam at War. p. 10. 

Further reading[edit]

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