Chester Melvin Ovnand

Master Sergeant
Army of the United States
08 September 1914 - 08 July 1959
Copperas Cove, Texas
Panel 07E Line 046

The database page for Chester Melvin Ovnand

02 Sep 2002

A common background in Texas was the foundation for the friendship that I developed with Chester while stationed in Bien Hoa. As he came to pick up films for his unit we got to visit and reminisce about both being from Texas. He was from Copperas Cove and I from Fort Worth. I didn�t get to know him very well as I had recently arrived in Viet Nam when he was killed. For the little time I did get to spend with him, he was a friendly face in a far away country. The significance of his life was recognized in that a local hotel in Saigon was named The Ovnand Hotel in his honor.

While many know his name as one of the first US soldiers killed in Viet Nam, I was honored to have him as a friend away from home.

I will not forget you, Chester.

From a friend and fellow serviceman.
22 Jun 2005

I have been interested in the life of MSGT Chester Ovnand ever since my husband and I lived on Ovnand Boulevard, Fort Hood, Texas. It's a name that is hard to forget.

There is a memorial at the beginning of the street that is genuinely suitable for MSGT Ovnand. It is unusual for memorials to be placed in Family Housing, but it's an honor to remember the life of a fallen soldier.

Later, when I visited the Vietnam War Memorial, I looked for and found his name engraved on the beautiful black marble. It was moving to make the connection between him and his sacrifice, both in Texas and in Washington, D.C.

From the spouse of Army officer.
E-mail address is not available.

20 Oct 2006

Dear Mr. Ovnand, I know you probably will not be able to see this but I am a 14 year old girl who has made an interest in the way you died. I am writing an essay on you for Veterans' Day and I saw you and Mr. Buis on a website saying you were the first two Americans to die. I think you have great bravery to have served in the Vietnam war. I feel that you two are some of the bravest men out there and maybe your service, platoon, or group you were in did not get the respect you should have gotten and I just want to say that people still remember the great work everybody in the Vietnam war did.

As we sit in our classrooms learning about the brave men who served in the Vietnam war we think what it would have been like to be alive in that time so I want you to think about the respect they were given ... not as much as they deserved but now we give them what they deserve. If we can do it now why couldn't we do it then??

Maria Bly

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand, Major Dale Buis, and two ARVN security guards were killed in a VC raid on the Military Assistance Advisory Team quarters at Bien Hoa. They were amongst the first Americans killed in action during the Vietnam war.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 2 Sep 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009