Lowell Residents Who Died in the Vietnam War

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, was dedicated forty years ago this week on November 13, 1982. In recognition of that anniversary, here are the names of residents of Lowell whose names appear on “The Vietnam Wall.” The Lowell names and their stories are presented chronologically in order of their date of death.

1965

Donald L. Arcand

September 1, 1965 – PFC Donald L. Arcand
19 years old.

Donald L. Arcand was born in Lowell on February 13, 1946. He lived on Ford Street in the Little Canada neighborhood and graduated 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, 145th Aviation Battalion. On September 1, 1965, while escorting a ground convoy near Ben Cat, Arcand’s aircraft was hit by enemy fire and exploded in midair killing all aboard. 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 Morrissette 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.

Donald Arcand’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 02e, Line 70.

 

1966

William T. Callery

February 22, 1966 – PFC William T. Callery
20 years old

William T. Callery was born in Lowell on August 16, 1945. His family lived at 134 Parker Street. He graduated from Lowell High in 1963 and worked at Hanscom Field in Bedford before joining the Army. He was assigned to Company A, 2/18 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division [see note below] and began his tour in Vietnam on January 19, 1966. Five weeks later, on February 22, 1966, he was killed in action by enemy small arms fire. His funeral was held on March 5, 1966, at St. Margaret’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

On May 22, 1966, the city of Lowell dedicated Highland Park as William T. Callery Park and erected a monument in his memory at the corner of Stevens and B Streets.

William Callery’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 05e, Line 59.

 

[Note about unit names: The primary fighting organization in the US Army in Vietnam was the battalion which contained about 500 soldiers organized into several companies. Through most of the Army’s history, battalions were organized into regiments. By Vietnam, the Army had done away with the regiment as an organization, however, battalions retained their historic regimental affiliation as part of their unit names. So, “2/18 Infantry” was the “2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment” or “2nd of the 18th” even though the 18th Regiment no longer existed.]

 

John J. Carville

May 1, 1966 – SP4 John J. Carville
20 years old

John J. Carville was born in Lowell on June 21, 1945, and lived at 11 Willow Street. He graduated from the Immaculate Conception School and Lowell High School. He enlisted in the Army on June 11, 1964, and was initially assigned to West Germany. He volunteered for Vietnam and arrived there on January 20, 1966, to serve with the 1st Squadron, 45th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed by enemy shell fire on May 1, 1966. His funeral was held on May 10, 1966, at the Immaculate Conception Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

John Carville’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 07e, Line 16.

 

Peter Tsirovasiles

June 2, 1966 – PFC Peter Tsirovasiles
21 years old

Peter Tsirovasiles was born in Lowell on April 10, 1945, and lived at 176 Adams Street. He attended the Hellenic School, the Bartlett Junior High, and graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964. He enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1965 and was trained as a medic. He arrived in Vietnam on January 6, 1966, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1/28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. PFC Tsirovasiles was killed by enemy small arms fire on June 2, 1966, in Thua Thien province. His funeral was held on June 9, 1966, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. He was buried in Westlawn Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated a monument in his memory on the North Common.

Peter Tsirovasiles’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 08e, Line 1.

 

Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr.

July 18, 1966 – CPL Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr.
22 years old

Rudolph H. Lefebvre Jr. was born in Lowell on June 15, 1944. His family moved to Chelmsford but Rudy attended the Daley Junior High School in Lowell. In 1965 at age 19, he volunteered for the Marines. After training, he was promoted to Corporal, sent to Vietnam, and was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed by small arms fire on June 15, 1966, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held on July 30, 1966, at St. Mary’s Church in Chelmsford. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Rudolph Lefebvre’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 09e, Line 33.

 

Joseph L. Vallee

July 26, 1966 – PFC Joseph L. Vallee
21 years old

Joseph L. Vallee was born in Lowell on July 20, 1945, and lived at 6 Cedar Street. He attended Lowell schools and graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964. He enlisted in the Marines after graduation and was assigned to Vietnam with Company F, 3rd Battalion, 9th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. On July 26, 1966, Private First Class Vallee was killed by fragmentation wounds in Quang Nam province. His funeral was held on August 12, 1966, at St. Anthony’s Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Joseph L. Vallee’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 09e, Line 79.

 

1967

Paul L. Stewart

February 22, 1967 – SSG Paul L. Stewart
39 years old

Paul L. Stewart was born on June 14, 1927, in Lowell where his father was a student at Lowell Textile Institute. The family soon moved to West Virginia where Paul enlisted in the Army in September 1945. He made the military a career and had a number of overseas assignments before arriving in Vietnam on December 20, 1966, where he was assigned to Company A, 3/21 Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On February 22, 1967, Staff Sergeant Stewart was killed by enemy small arms fire in Quang Nam province. His funeral was held and he was buried on March 2, 1967, in New Franklin, Ohio, where his parents were living.

Paul L. Stewart’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 15e, Line 76.

 

Peter N. Samaras

March 19, 1967 – MAJ Peter N. Samaras
36 years old

Peter N. Samaras was born in Lowell on March 23, 1931. He graduated from Lowell High in 1949 and attended Lowell Technological Institute for two years before enlisting in the Marines in 1953. He was commissioned an officer and trained as a helicopter pilot. By the time he arrived in Vietnam in September 1966, he was married and had six children, all living in Pensacola, Florida. A 13 year veteran of the Marines, Major Samaras was assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron 163. On March 19, 1967, Major Samaras’s helicopter was shot down in Quang Tri province. He died from wounds suffered in the crash. His funeral was held in Florida.

In 1975, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Townsend Ave and Pawtucket Boulevard as Peter N. Samaras Square.

Peter N. Samaras’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 16e, Line 115.

 

Robert F. Bigelow

September 12, 1967 – PFC Robert F. Bigelow
20 years old

Robert F. Bigelow was born in Somerville on August 1, 1947, but moved to Lowell with his family at a young age and lived at 73 Asbury Street. He attended the Butler Junior High and was a member of the Lowell High class of 1966. He was the captain of the LHS basketball team and held a citywide track record for junior high students. He enlisted in the Marines and served with Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed by an enemy shell fragment on September 12, 1967, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held at the Sacred Heart Church on September 23, 1967. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Robert Bigelow’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 26e, Line 58.

 

Bruce R. Baxter

November 9, 1967 – MSG Bruce R. Baxter
36 years old

Bruce R. Baxter was born in Boston on September 28, 1931, but grew up in Lowell. At the time of his death, his mother, Mrs. Ellen Baxter, lived at 57 South Highland Street. Master Sergeant Baxter was a member of the 5th Special Forces Group (“Green Berets”). During a secret mission in Laos, he was wounded. An Air Force search and rescue helicopter picked up Baxter and another wounded Green Beret, but the helicopter was hit and burst into flames as it lifted off, killing all aboard. The body of Baxter and the five others who had been in the helicopter were identified but heavy enemy fire and bad weather conditions prevented the body of MSG Baxter and the others from ever being recovered.

Bruce Baxter’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 29e, Line 47.

 

1968

Richard J. Kelley

February 20, 1968 – 1LT Richard J. Kelley
22 years old

Richard J. Kelley was born in Lowell on August 3, 1945. He graduated from Lowell High School where he was a Carney Medalist and then from the College of the Holy Cross. After graduation, he became a Marine officer and arrived in Vietnam on June 27, 1967, where he was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. According to published reports at the time of his death, he drowned while trying to recover enemy weapons from a river in Quang Nam province on February 20, 1968. His funeral was held on March 12, 1968, at St. Michael’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Richard Kelley’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 40e, Line 42.

 

Robert L. Harrison

May 21, 1968 – SP4 Robert L. Harrison
25 years old

Robert L. Harrison was born in Boston but moved to Billerica with his parents at a young age. He graduated from Billerica High School in the class of 1961. He married and then moved to 18 Burns Street in Lowell. He worked at Tynan Electric Company in Billerica until he joined the Army in the summer of 1967. He was trained as a medic and was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. He was wounded in battle in Quang Tri province and died of his wounds at a military hospital in Japan on May 21, 1968. His funeral was held on May 30, 1968, at St. Mary’s Church in Billerica. He was buried in Fox Hill Cemetery in Billerica.

Robert L. Harrison’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 64e, Line 15.

 

Ronald E. Forget

June 8, 1968 – SGT Ronald E. Forget
21 years old

Ronald E. Forget was born in Lowell on June 18, 1947, and grew up at 39 Florida Street. He graduated from Lowell High, married, and worked at Millipore Company in Bedford before joining the Army. He arrived in Vietnam on August 5, 1967, and was assigned to Headquarters Company, 3/8 Infantry, 4th Infantry Division where he served as a radio operator. He died on June 8, 1968, from multiple fragmentation wounds. His funeral was held on June 19, 1968, at St. Rita’s Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

In 1969, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Butman Road and Hovey Street as Ronald E. Forget Square.

Ronald E. Forget’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 58w, Line 3.

 

Ronald A. Skelton

July 22, 1968 – PFC Ronald A. Skelton
20 years old

Ronald A. Skelton was born in Lowell on June 22, 1948. He lived on South Highland Street, attended the Butler School and Lowell Trade High School. He enlisted in the Marines in the summer of 1967 and was sent to Vietnam where he was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. On May 3, 1968, while on patrol, Private First Class Skelton was severely wounded. He was evacuated and eventually made it to the US Navy Hospital in Chelsea, Massachusetts, but died from his wounds while a patient there on July 22, 1968. His funeral was held on July 25, 1968, at St. Peter’s Church. He is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Thorndike Street and YMCA Drive as Ronald A. Skelton Square.

Ronald A. Skelton’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 51w, Line 37.

 

Richard C. St. Amand

October 13, 1968 – PFC Richard C. St. Amand
20 years old

Richard C. St. Amand was born in Lowell on June 16, 1948, and lived at 11 Lilley Ave. He worked at Johan Fabrics then joined the Army, and arrived in Vietnam on September 7, 1968. He was assigned to Company B, 2/28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed by enemy small arms fire on October 13, 1968. His funeral was held on October 28, 1968, at St. Louis de France Church. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Richard C. St. Amand’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 41w, Line 61.

 

1969

Robert W. McCluskey

February 5, 1969 – PFC Robert W. McCluskey
20 years old

Robert W. McCluskey was born in Lowell on August 10, 1948, and lived at 50 Temple Street with his parents. He attended the Bartlett School, Daley Junior High and Lowell High, however, he left school after his junior year and enlisted in the Marines. He was trained as a machine gunner and was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed in action on February 5, 1969, in Quang Tri province. His funeral was held on February 21, 1969, at St. Peter’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Robert W. McCluskey’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 33w, Line 66.

 

Walter J. Lemieux

March 9, 1969 – SP4 Walter J. Lemieux
21 years old

Walter J. Lemieux was born in Lowell on September 27, 1947, and lived at 21 Mill Street. He attended the Butler School, the Moody Junior High, and Lowell High School. He joined the Army and was trained as a medic. Specialist Fourth Class Lemieux arrived in Vietnam on December 6, 1968, and was assigned to Company C, 4/21 Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade. He was killed by enemy small arms fire on March 9, 1969, in Quong Ngai province. His funeral was held on March 20, 1969, at St. Anthony’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In 1998, the city of Lowell dedicated a park on Mill Street in the Back Central neighborhood as Walter J. Lemieux Park.

Walter J. Lemieux’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 30w, Line 90.

 

Peter J. Bouchard

March 28, 1969 – SGT Peter J. Bouchard
22 years old

Peter J. Bouchard was born in Lowell on September 21, 1946. He grew up with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Bouchard, at 124 Lilley Ave. He graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1964, married, and moved to Lawrence with his wife. He joined the Army in August 1968 and was stationed in Vietnam with Headquarters Company, 3/6 Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Sergeant Bouchard was killed in an accident on March 28, 1969, in Kien Hoa province. His funeral was held on April 7, 1969, at St. Michael’s Church. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

Peter Bouchard’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 28w, Line 65.

 

1970

William J. Hodge

February 28, 1970 – SSG William J. Hodge
22 years old

William J. Hodge was born in Lowell on April 2, 1947, and grew up on Butterfield Street with his family. After graduating from Lowell High, he married and moved to School Street until he enlisted in the Army. Staff Sergeant Hodge arrived in Vietnam on September 24, 1969, and served with Company B, 1/16 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed in action while serving as a platoon sergeant on February 28, 1970. His funeral was held on March 13, 1970, at St. Patrick’s Church. We was buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery.

The city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Carlisle and Gorham Streets as William Hodge Square.

William J. Hodge’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 13w, Line 68.

 

John Scott Keenan

April 22, 1970 – CWO John Scott Keenan
21 years old

John Scott Keenan was born in Lowell on November 17, 1948, and lived with his grandparents at 104 Viola Street. He graduated from Lowell High with the class of 1966 and then attended Northern Essex Community College. He married, had two children, and worked until joining the Army in January 1969. He was trained as a helicopter pilot and achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He arrived in Vietnam on March 18, 1970, and served as a pilot in the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. His helicopter was shot down on April 22, 1970, and he died in the crash. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In 1970, the city of Lowell dedicated the intersection of Chelmsford and Stevens Street as John Scott Keenan Square. In 2020, with the concurrence of his family, the city relocated the square to the intersection of Stevens and Viola Streets.

John Scott Keenan’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 11w, Line 36.

 

1971

Robert J. LaFlamme

January 13, 1971 – SFC Robert J. LaFlamme
39 years old

Robert LaFlamme was born in Lowell on June 24, 1931. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army and made the military a career. He was married with three sons when he was assigned to Vietnam. He arrived there on November 2, 1970, as a Sergeant First Class and was assigned to the 160th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade. SFC LaFlamme died of a heart attack on January 13, 1971. His funeral was held on January 22, 1971, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Chelmsford. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Robert J. LaFlamme’s name is inscribed on the VVM Wall on Panel 05w, Line 42.

 

City of Lowell monument to those who died in Vietnam. On grounds of Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

4 Responses to Lowell Residents Who Died in the Vietnam War

  1. EileenL says:

    In 2009, CPL Henry Sarmento’s name was added to the memorial on the grounds of the LMA. CPL Henry Michael Sarmento was born May 21, 1947 in Lowell and attended Lowell schools. He moved to Milford, CT and joined the USMC. He was killed in action in the Quang Tri province on May 19, 1967. He is buried in the Westlawn Cemetery with his uncle, aunt and two cousins

  2. David Daniel says:

    I read with great interest and sadness the tally of Lowell’s Gold Star Viet Nam veterans. This is an important piece of history. One thing that strikes hard is how young they were; and, in many instances, how soon after arriving in-country they died.

    A few years ago, when I was teaching a class in the Honors College at UML, as part of the curriculum, I’d take students (most of whom were from elsewhere) on walking tours of the city. One afternoon I pointed out the abundance of markers at street corners and elsewhere that featured the gold star. None of the students knew what it signified, so it made a ready lesson.

    Thanks for sharing this tribute. “Lest we forget.”

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