Ground CasualtyPosted on 6/4/16 - by firstname.lastname@example.orgMAJ Dale R. Buisand and MSG Chester M. Ovnand were assigned to Advisory Team Bien Hoa, MAAGV Advisors, MAAGV. On July 8, 1959, they were killed at Bien Hoa, twenty miles northeast of Saigon, when the Vietcong ambushed the mess hall during intermission of a movie the Americans were watching. The movie, “The Tattered Dress,” was playing before the attack. Ovnand rose to turn on the lights to change the reel when the enemy surrounded their target and opened fire. The advisors were killed instantly. Two Vietnamese guards were also killed. Buis had been part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group sent in 1955 to train South Vietnam troops. He was formerly the first name listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and various web sources]MORE
HiPosted on 9/10/14I loved that manMORE
Remembering An American HeroPosted on 10/15/13 - by Curt CarterDear Major Dale Richard Buis, sirMORE
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
RemembrancePosted on 11/4/11 - by James A. Phillips, LTC, USA RetMajor Buis's name is the FIRST NAME on the Vietnam Memorial.MORE
This picture was taken when we were MAAG Advisers to the 5th Viet Inf. Div. in Song Mao, Vietnam.
In May our group was moved to Bien Hoa where Dale was killed.
2 AMERICANS KILLED BY SAIGON TERRORISTS, Stars and Stripes, July 10, 1959Posted on 12/13/10 - by email@example.com MORE
Photo of Major Dale R. BuisPosted on 7/10/09 - by LTC (Ret) Hank Cramer firstname.lastname@example.org MORE
CEREMONY COMMEMORATES VIETNAM WAR'S FIRST COMBAT CASUALTIESPosted on 7/9/09 - by CLAY MARSTON CMARSTON@INTERLOG.COM
CEREMONY COMMEMORATES VIETNAM WAR'S FIRST COMBAT CASUALTIES
Samantha L. Quigley
AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Wednesday 8 July 2009 -
Bright blue skies above the National Mall today belied the solemnity of the ceremony commemorating the first two American combat casualties of the Vietnam War.
"On this date 50 years ago, two men lost their lives in a country that most of us here in the United States had never heard of at the time," said Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "The deaths of U.S. Army military advisors Major Dale Buis and Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand marked the beginning of a lengthy war, which became a very divisive event for our society."
U.S. involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975.
By then, the fighting had claimed the lives of more than 58,0260 U.S. servicemembers and nearly 2 million Vietnamese. ( - This figure adjusts higher almost every year as more names are approved )
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stanley Karnow, a World War II veteran, was there from the beginning, covering Asia for Time and Life magazines.
In July 1959, he happened to be in Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam and now known as Ho Chi Minh City, when he heard about an incident at a South Vietnamese army camp in the small town of Bien Hoa, about 25 miles to the north.
After a taxi ride to the camp, he discovered two Americans had been killed in an ambush as they watched a movie during a break in their duties as part of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group.
The movie, " The Tattered Dress " was two reels long, and when Ovnand turned on the lights to change the reel, the enemy, who had surrounded the building and pushed gun muzzles through windows, opened fire.
Buis, 38, of California, had been in Bien Hoa just two days when he died in the hail of bullets.
Ovnand, of Texas, was a hair's breadth from retirement and exactly two months shy of his 45th birthday.
Army Captain Howard Boston of Iowa was seriously wounded in the incident, and two Vietnamese guards were killed.
Karnow wrote in his Time article that if it hadn't been for Army Major Jack Hellet of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who turned the lights out again, all six Americans in the room might have died.
"I was quite astonished, but ... I'd been around wars for awhile, so the idea of a couple of guys getting killed in a remote place that nobody's ever heard of in America struck me as an interesting story," Karnow told those gathered for today's ceremony.
His dispatch to Time magazine ended up as a three-paragraph summary when the magazine was published, and as all Time stories were then, it was anonymous.
"It was just a minor incident in a faraway place. Here I was at the beginning of one of America's longest wars," Karnow said, noting that witnesses to history often don't recognize it at the time.
"I have a lot of experience of being at historic occasions, which at the time they occurred, I did not know they were historic," he said.
When Scruggs and his Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund were authorized by Congress in the late 1970s to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the decision was made to list the casualties in chronological order. The question then became where to start.
Retired Army Colonel Nathaniel P. Ward III, the advisory group's chief of staff at the time of the Bien Hoa incident, took an active role in ensuring Buis and Ovnand were properly recognized as the first U.S. casualties.
Initially, the Defense Department was considering an Army captain killed in 1961 as the first name to be inscribed on The Wall, retired Army Captain Nathaniel P. Ward IV said during the ceremony.
That didn't set well with his father, who had worked with Buis and Ovnand in Bien Hoa.
"[ My father ] petitioned for about a year, and they finally agreed to go with Major Buis and Sergeant Major Ovnand," the younger Ward said.
Interestingly, Ovnand's name appears on The Wall twice, being the only name to do so.
The first time is on the first line of panel 1E, next to Buis's name. It later was re-inscribed on panel 7E, Row 46 because of a misspelling in the original inscription where his name appears as Ovnard.
The ceremony concluded with the playing of " Taps ", and the placing of a wreath at the apex of The Wall, below the names of the first two U.S. combat casualties of the Vietnam War.
SPECIAL TO -
- WWW.HISTORICALMILITARIA.COM -
BIOGRAPHER OF THE LOST OF THE VIETNAM ERA - 1955 to 1975 -
R E M E M B R A N C E
Do not stand at my grave and weepPosted on 7/22/05 - by Bob RossDo not stand at my grave and weep.MORE
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Frye – 1932
We RememberPosted on 12/5/04 - by Robert Sage email@example.comDale is buried at Ft Rosecrans Nat Cem.
Who Shall We SendPosted on 7/8/03 - by Dave Avery"An God said who shall we send.I answered I am here,send me."MORE
If I should die...remembrance for MAJ. Dale Richard Buis, USA...the first to die in Vietnam by enemyPosted on 11/2/00If I should die and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine. Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.MORE
HIS LAST NIGHT.....Posted on 9/24/00On 12 February 1955, the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group had taken over training of the South Vietnamese Army. By 1958 the Viet Minh were already known as the Viet Cong and had been steadily increasing their terrorist activities. They declared the month of July 1959 as "Anti-American Month" and had marked the seven-member American Advisory Team located at Bien Hoa as one of their targets. Major Buis arrived in Vietnam on 6 July 1959 and was assigned as the eighth member of the MAAG Advisory Team. Dale Buis was befriended by a Vietnamese boy of eight or nine years old who helped him settle in. The boy, who was the mess cook's son, was near the age of Buis' eldest of three sons back in the United States. . . . .MORE
Two days after Buis arrived, six of the eight advisors gathered at an old saw mill which had been converted to a club and mess for the Americans at Bien Hoa. The sawmill and surrounding buildings were situated in a clearing enclosed by a double strand barbed wire apron, about two hundred yards from a river.
The six advisors made themselves comfortable in the mess hall. A movie projector was pointed at a clear blank space on the sawmill wall. It clattered as light flickered in a beam across the room, and as the opening credits to The Tattered Dress starring Jeanne Crane showed faintly on the wall, the lights in the mess hall were switched off. The two Vietnamese guards on duty peered through a window of the sawmill, watching the movie rather than the fence line. Undetected, a squad of six Viet Cong negotiated the barbed wire on the river side of the compound as darkness fell. Heavily armed, their destination was the advisors' mess.
With only one projector, the movie spectators knew that the lights had to be turned on to change reels; so did the Viet Cong. The instant that the interior was illuminated, high power machine gun fire erupted in the room. A French MAT machine gun had been pushed through an open window during the movie. The Viet Cong had stood in the darkness outside the window, waiting for enough light to gun down the Americans. Major Buis and another advisor, Master Sergeant Chester Ovnand, were killed in a hail of bullets. Two Vietnamese guards and reportedly the Vietnamese boy, who had befriended Buis, were also killed in the onslaught
The Ties that Bond (Film)Posted on 9/24/00 - by Peter DeFrescoI would please like to speak to somone in Dale's family
Peter De Fresco 718-836-4160
My memories of Dale BuisPosted on 12/27/98 - by Col William E Naylor (ret)Dale was my roomate at the Yurako hotel in Tokyo during the l948-49 time period. He was a fine man who sought action and adventure. We both volunteered as UN military observersMORE
in Kashmir in l949. Dale developed a bad leg infection in Pakistan and had to return to Japan for treatment. I heard later that he volunteered to be among the first military advisers in Vietnam and was killed when VC threw grenades into his tent. He was a good friend and a man to be respected by all.
William E Naylor, Col USAF (Ret)
RemembrancePosted on 12/3/98 - by James A. PhillipsRest in peace dear friend. If I had left one week later I would have been in our Mess with you and the other advisers when you were killed. I will always remember our good times, the tennis games and long talks we had. I especially remember you each veterans day. You were a credit to your country.MORE
RIP LTC James A. Phillips, USA-Ret
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.