Nathaniel Plummer Ward III – Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary press report:

Nathaniel P. Ward III, 86, a retired Army colonel who led a successful effort to add the names of two soldiers originally left off the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, died of cardiac arrest April 3, 1998 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. The former Hampton, Virginia, resident had lived at the Fairfax Military Community at Fort Belvoir since 1995.

Colonel Ward was a native of Durand, Wisconsin, and a 1934 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While serving in Europe during World War II, he took part in four major campaigns, including those of Normandy and Northern France.

He had tours at the Pentagon in the 1950s and served as a senior adviser in Vietnam from 1958 to 1960.

When Colonel Ward, who retired from the military in 1964, discovered that Army Major Dale R. Duis and Master Sergeant Chester N. Ovnard were not among those listed on the memorial, he contacted officials at the Pentagon. The two soldiers served under Colonel Ward and were killed in a Viet Cong attack in 1959.

But because of a Department of Defense directive issued in 1973, the memorial was to contain only the names of soldiers killed in combat beginning January 1, 1961. In his letter, Colonel Ward wrote that “a gross injustice would be committed if the names of these two honorable men were not included.”

The Pentagon turned over the names to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which had them placed on the black granite memorial.

Survivors include his wife, Evelyn Ward of Fort Belvoir; two children, Chartley Rose Ward of Alexandria and Nathaniel P. Ward IV of San Diego; two grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.


On Friday, April 3, 1998, at Mt. Vernon Hospital, NATHANIEL P. WARD, III, of Ft. Belvoir, VA, husband of Evelyn Gardner Ward; father of Chartley R. and Nathaniel P. Ward, IV; brother of Jeremy Ward, Marjorie McGregory and Emily Rautman. He is also survived by two grandchildren, Nathaniel P. Ward, V and Bentley G. Ward; and one great granddaughter, Madeline Rose Ward. Services will be held on Friday, April 17, 11 a.m. at the Ft. Myer Chapel, Arlington, VA. Interment Arlington National Cemetery. Family requests memorials in his name be made to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, 1012 14th St., NW, #201, Washington, DC 20005.

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