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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]

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Military career Edit

Nolde was the last official Combat Casualty of the Vietnam War - the 45,914th confirmed death during the conflict. Colonel Nolde was killed by shell fire eleven hours before the cessation of all hostilities in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords.

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. 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 Medaland 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.[2] In 2006, Colonel Nolde was also inducted into the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.[3]

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.[4] 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 [5]
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 andTerence F. Moore Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch and President/CEO, Mid-Michigan Health Leadership in the Military and the Business World [6]
Fall 2003 Brig. Gen.Roger L. Allen Deputy STARC Commander, Michigan Army National Guard Building Leaders for Tomorrow [7]
Fall 2004 Capt.Shawn Abbe Commander, 1437th Multi-Role Bridge Company Leadership in Times of Conflict [8]
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[9][10]
Spring 2006 Lt. Col.Gary Brito Commander, 1st Battalion, 15th Regiment (Mechanized), 3rd Infantry Division Students should not be afraid to take risks [11]
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 [12]
Fall 2009 Lt. Col.Brian Eifler Commander, Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment Reflections of a CMU Ranger[13]
Fall 2010 Col. Elaine A. Edwards Director of Marketing, US Army Cadet Command OPEN DISCUSSIONS with Question and Answer

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.[14]

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Burial Edit

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.[15][16]

Awards and decorations Edit

  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star
  • Purple Heart
  • Air Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal

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