William Nolde

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Colonel William Benedict Nolde
William Nolde
Born (1929-08-08)August 8, 1929
Menominee, Michigan
Died January 27, 1973(1973-01-27) (aged 43)
An Lộc, Vietnam
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars Korean 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[edit]

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]

Lecture Series[edit]

The William B. Nolde Lecture Series has the purpose to promote an understanding of the role of the United States Armed Forces in the life and history of the United States 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.[7] This program is sponsored by the university's Military Science Department. The following are the lectures presented:

William B. Nolde Lectures
Date Lecturer Organization Topic
Fall 1998 Dr. Jerold Brown Historian, Combat Studies Institute, Ft. Leavenworth The Citizen-Soldier and the American Military Tradition
Spring 1999 Hon. Dave Camp US Representative, Michigan 4th Congressional District The Role of Congress in Raising and Supporting the US Armed Forces
Fall 1999 Dr. Gregory M.A. Gronbacher Director, Center for Economic Personalism, Action Institute The Just War Tradition: Will it Survive the 21st Century [8]
Spring 2000 Col. Edwin F. Veiga Director of Media Relations, Office of Chief of Army Public Affairs Media and the Military: Meeting the Challenge
Fall 2000 Maj. Gen. E. Gordon Stump Adjutant General, State of Michigan The Role of the Michigan National Guard
Spring 2001 Col. James M. McDonald Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army US Army Transition
Fall 2001 Dr. Hans A. Andrews President, Olney Central College Leadership Education
Spring 2002 Col. Genaro J. Dellarocco Project Manager, Force Projections Combat Services Support, TACOM Force Projection: The Spear of our Nation's Military Power Projection
Fall 2002 Pres. Michael Rao, Central Michigan University (with Dani Hiar, Jamie Brown, Jennifer Ireland, Michelle Howard, Nathan Westfall, and Nicole Wright) CMU Student Leader Development: Preparing Leaders for our University, Community, Nation, and World
Spring 2003 Brig. Gen. John G. Kulhavi and Terence F. Moore Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch and President/CEO, Mid-Michigan Health Leadership in the Military and the Business World [9]
Fall 2003 Brig. Gen. Roger L. Allen Deputy STARC Commander, Michigan Army National Guard Building Leaders for Tomorrow [10]
Fall 2004 Capt. Shawn Abbe Commander, 1437th Multi-Role Bridge Company Leadership in Times of Conflict [11]
Spring 2005 Brig. Gen. Anne F. McDonald Deputy Director for Operations, National Military Command Center Gold Nuggets I Wish I had Known
Fall 2005 Col. R. John Cully Vice President, Trading Places International Eastern Region Government and Armed Forces Cooperative [12][13]
Spring 2006 Lt. Col. Gary Brito Commander, 1st Battalion, 15th Regiment (Mechanized), 3rd Infantry Division Students should not be afraid to take risks [14]
Fall 2006 Col. James P. Coates Commander. 9th Brigade, Western Region, US Army Cadet Command OPEN DISCUSSIONS with Question and Answer
Fall 2007 Lt. Col. Brian Mays Assistant Principal, Colin Powell Middle School OPEN DISCUSSIONS with Question and Answer
Spring 2008 Col. Thomas Rini Investigator, Office of the Inspector General, DoD OPEN DISCUSSIONS with Question and Answer
Fall 2008 Lt. Col. David A. Burdette Vice President, Central Michigan University Student, Citizen, and Soldier in the 21st Century
Spring 2009 Col. Scott S. Haraburda Director, Manufacturing & Engineering, Crane Army Ammunition Activity Success by Surviving Changes [15]
Fall 2009 Lt. Col. Brian Eifler Commander, Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment Reflections of a CMU Ranger [16]


Col. Elaine A. Edwards Director of Marketing, US Army Cadet Command OPEN DISCUSSIONS with Question and Answer


Michael Knapp US Army National Guard Intelligence Center, Charlottesville, VA Briefing on Islamic Extremism


COL Rick Nussio Center for Strategic & International Studies, U.S. Army Service College Plates and People: Educating Leaders for an Uncertain Future
Fall 2011 BG(R) Mark Montjar VSE Corporation Leadership: Teamwork and Collaboration
Spring 2012 MAJ(R) InSung Oaks Lee Homeland Security Army Core Value - Personal Courage
Fall 2012 Captain Tim Hardy Sunoco, Inc. Leadership and Character
Spring 2013 BG(R) John Leatherman Michigan Army National Guard You Will Receive More Than A Commission
Fall 2013 CPT(R) William Talcott Effective Leadership
Spring 2014 COL(R) John Hinck Being Smart is Your Best Weapon
Spring 2015 Terence Moore MidMichigan Health The Value of ROTC in the Civilian World

Nolde Scholarship[edit]

At Central Michigan University, the William B. Nolde Scholarship was established in memory of Colonel William B. Nolde by students, family and friends.[17]


Nolde was buried on February 5, 1973 in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery (his widow Joyce was buried beside him in 2005). As the last official combat casualty, his funeral was broadcast on television and was attended by "considerably more brass than the funeral of a field-grade officer would normally command" including General Alexander Haig and President Richard Nixon.[18][19]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ Arlington National Cemetery, website. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  2. ^ McGhee, Peter (1983). "American Experience - Vietnam a Television History" (Chapter 11, The End of The Tunnel, 1973-1975). PBS. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  3. ^ McGhee, Peter. "Vietnam, A Television History". Youtube. PBS. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Last Man Down". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2000. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  5. ^ CMU ROTC, Hall of Fame website. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  6. ^ Fort Sill OCS, Reunion 2006. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  7. ^ Arlington National Cemetery, website. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  8. ^ Ebige, Natalie, Central Michigan Life, October 13, 1999. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  9. ^ Defaultuser, Central Michigan Life, March 31, 2003. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  10. ^ Ramus, Patricia, Central Michigan Life, October 15, 2003. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  11. ^ Defaultuser, Central Michigan Life, November 10, 2004. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  12. ^ CMU College of Humanities and Social and Behavior Sciences, Under Discussion, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter 2006. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  13. ^ Defaultuser, Central Michigan Life, November 16, 2005. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  14. ^ Defaultuser, Central Michigan Life, March 15, 2006. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  15. ^ Greene, Ben, Central Michigan Life, February 20, 2009. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  16. ^ CMU College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Fall 2009 Events archive. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  17. ^ CMU College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Scholarship Reference Guide. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  18. ^ Arlington National Cemetery, website. Retrieved on February 18, 2010
  19. ^ PBS Vietnam Series, Part 11, transcript retrieved on February 18, 2010

External links[edit]