CHESTER M OVNAND
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HONORED ON PANEL 7E, LINE 46 OF THE WALL

CHESTER MELVIN OVNAND

WALL NAME

CHESTER M OVNAND

PANEL / LINE

7E/46

DATE OF BIRTH

09/08/1914

CASUALTY PROVINCE

BIEN HOA

DATE OF CASUALTY

07/08/1959

HOME OF RECORD

COPPERAS COVE

COUNTY OF RECORD

Lampasas County

STATE

TX

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

MSGT

THIS NAME WILL BE READ AS PART OF THE READING OF THE NAMES ON

11/07/2022 at 8:50pm

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Contact Details

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR CHESTER MELVIN OVNAND
POSTED ON 11.21.1999
POSTED BY: FER

"The Tattered Dress"

On 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. . . . .

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
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