Lowell People: Donald Arcand

Arcand Monument in foreground; Ladd & Whitney Monument in background. At Monument Square, Lowell, Mass.

Donald Arcand
(1946-1965) was the first resident of Lowell to die in the Vietnam War. Arcand was born on February 13, 1946, and lived at 130 Ford Street in the city’s Little Canada neighborhood. After graduating from St. Joseph’s High School, he worked in a shoe factory until he enlisted in the Army in 1964.

Sent to Vietnam, he served as a door gunner on a UH-1B helicopter of the 197th Aviation Company. On September 1, 1965, Arcand’s aircraft with a crew of four and one passenger was on a convoy escort mission near Ben Cat. Spotting some activity on the ground, the aircraft descended to investigate, was hit by enemy fire, and exploded in midair. All aboard died.

Arcand was survived by his parents, William J. and Helen M. (Blanchard) Arcand, two brothers, Roger and Robert Arcand, and his paternal Grandmother, Mrs. Josephine Arcand, all of Lowell. Arcand’s funeral was held at St. Jean Baptiste Church and he was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

On Memorial Day 1969 (May 25), the new road connecting Father Morissette Boulevard to Merrimack Street (part of the Northern Canal Urban Renewal Project) was dedicated as Arcand Drive and a monument in his honor was installed in Monument Square alongside the Ladd and Whitney Monument.

From Lowell Sun

2 Responses to Lowell People: Donald Arcand

  1. Charles Gargiulo says:

    I never met Donald Arcand but I remember his younger brother Bobby when I grew up in Little Canada. Sadly, Bobby got scattered like all of my other friends and acquaintances in Little Canada when the neighborhood was destroyed in 1964-65. I lived in one of the last tenements left on Austin Street when finally my Aunt Rose, who had lived there all her life was forced to move across the River on Bridge Street in May 1965. She died a week later of a broken heart. Reeling from this, my Mom and I were finally forced out in September. I remember hearing news that Bobby’s brother was killed in some place called Vietnam right before we moved, which added to the gloom and made it feel the destruction of our Little Canada community had left all of us vulnerable to a shroud of tragedy. Little did I know in my insular world, that Donald was a victim of something far bigger than our fate in Little Canada. Little did I know we were going to be told a much bigger lie than the lie about how “urban renewal” was going to improve our lives.

  2. Dean says:

    Donald Leonard Arcand was drafted in the U.S. Army on October 14,1964. He was an Infantryman his M.O.S. was a 11B . He was stationed in Hawaii with B Company , 1st Battalion (Mechanized ) , 27th Infantry of the 25th Infantry Division . He went to Vietnam TDY (temporary duty) for 90 days with the 197th Aviation Company . His helicopter was shot down. In the Lowell Sun newspaper dated October 26 , 1968 P.F.C Arcand was “the first Greater – Lowell area serviceman killed in the Vietnam fighting ” P.F.C. Arcand was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Flying Cross.