Wayne E. Marchand

Staff Sergeant Wayne Ellsworth Marchand
October 3, 1932 to April 8, 1962
Army of the United States

Staff Sergeant Wayne E. Marchand of Plattsmouth, Nebraska was one of the first Americans to die in the Vietnam War. He was a member of American Legion Post 28 in Okinawa, Japan.  After his death, Post 28 was rennamed in his honor.

Marchand enlisted in the Army in 1950 and served in the Korean War.  From 1953 to 1962 he was with the 10th and 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).  In 1962 Staff Sergeant Marchand was serving in South Vietnam as a member of an Army Special Forces unit specializing in anti-guerrilla warfare. 

On April 8th, 1962 Marchand and three other members of his team were engaged in training a village self-defense group near An Chau, South Vietnam when they came under fire from Viet Cong guerrillas.  After repulsing several waves of attacks, Marchand was wounded, captured, and later executed.  He was 29 years old.

Staff Sergeant Marchand's remains were recovered and are interred at Lafayette Cemetery, Brock, Nemaha County, Nebraska, Lot 316 Grave 5.  His name is engraved on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Panel 1E, Line 8.


Staff Sergeant Wayne Ellsworth Marchand
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Son of Jesse J. Marchand from Winter Trailer Court, Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Born:  3 October, 1932
Died:  8 April, 1962 
Marital Status:  Single
Unit:  1 SF Group (Det A1-213)
Number:   27710818 

1950-1953, Other Commands, Served in Korean War
1953-1956, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)  
1959-1962, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)  
1962-1962, Military Assistance Advisory Group Vietnam  
1962-1962, POW/MIA - KIA near An Chau,South Vietnam 

Gravesite:  Lafayette Cemetery, Brock, Nemaha County, Nebraska Lot 316 Grave 5 
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Panel 01E Line 8 

SSGT Wayne Ellsworth Marchand (1932 - 1962) was survived by his parents: Ada Elizabeth Jones Marchand (1911 - 1986) and Jessie James Marchand (1908 - 1982) and siblings James Leroy Marchand (1934 - 2006), Jerry Gene Marchand (1937 - 1964), Eugene Charles Marchand (1939 - 2002), Ronnie Marchand (1941 - 2010), Bobbie N. Marchand (1946 - 2001). He was predeceased by brother Jessie Marchand (1931 - 1931). They all are buried in Lafayette Cemetery, Brock, Nebraska.



Time Magazine

Friday, April 20, 1962

South Viet Nam: We Are Being Overrun

'The first Americans to die in battle against the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas fell in a remote valley of  South Viet Nam last week.  

Scene of the struggle was a jungle clearing outside An Chau, a village 360 miles north of Saigon. There, U.S. Sergeants James Gabriel of Honolulu and Wayne E. Marchand of Plattsmouth, Neb., were drilling 31 local Vietnamese volunteers in a two-week field exercise in guard techniques and patrolling. Along to watch the  exercises were two new American arrivals in South Viet Nam, Sergeants Francis Quinn of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and George E. Groom of St. Joseph, Mo. All went well until the third night of the exercise.

Suddenly, at 10 p.m., there was rustling in the saw grass across a nearby river. Concerned, Sergeant Gabriel fired warning shots, sent up flares in the direction of the noise. For a long time there was silence. Then came what sounded like a dog's bark. From a different direction, a cock crowed. At last came the tap of a bamboo tocsin, and the Viet Cong came running out of the dark.

This first attack was quickly repulsed, but shortly after daybreak the guerrillas came back in earnest. Five  Viet Cong guerrillas rushed the command post, were shot down, only to be followed by five more from another direction. "I saw Sergeant Gabriel phoning and shooting and changing clips all at the same time," said a Vietnamese afterwards. "Three times he was wounded and knocked down. The third time he didn't get up." Before he fell, Gabriel radioed a final message to the U.S. base at Danang seven miles away: "Under heavy attack from all sides. Completely encircled by enemy. Ammunition expended. We are being overrun."

When 20 Americans rushed down from Danang in helicopters, they found the bodies of Gabriel and Marchand. Each had been shot in the head as the Viet Cong fled. The other two Americans had been kidnaped and marched off  toward the Laos frontier 40 miles away.'


Pacific Stars and Stripes
Five Star Edition
Wednesday, April 11, 1962
Vol. 18, No. 100

How U.S. Soldiers Died
Too wounded to Walk, 2 Are Slain by Guerillas

Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (AP) -- Communist guerillas killed two captured U.S. Army sergeants because they were too badly wounded to walk any farther, the survivors of a jungle ambush reported Wednesday. The American's arms had been bound behind them.

Vietnamese patrols and air forces were still searching the jungle area 45 miles east of the Laos frontier for two other American army sergeants who were captured in the attack on a bivouac Sunday.

The U.S. Army identified the slain soldiers as Staff Sgt. Wayne E. Marchand of Plattsmouth, Neb., and SP5 James Gabriel of Honolulu.  The two missing men are SFC Francis Quinn of Niagra Falls, NY and Sgt.
George E. Groom of Stewartsvill, MO.

All four soldiers were members of an Army Special Forces unit which specializes in anti-querilla warfare and were engaged in training a village self-defense group.

Survivors told U.S. authorities the two slain Americans were seriously wounded in the attack by Viet [the article copy ends there]