In Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class
William Ernest Pasch
Groton, South Dakota , Brown County
October 3, 1947--May 11, 1968
Killed in Action in Vietnam
William Ernest “Bill” Pasch was born on October 3, 1947, in
Aberdeen, South Dakota. His parents were Walter and Lois (Hoops)
Pasch. He had three brothers, Robert, Alroy, and Donald.
According to his mother, Lois, “Bill was a quiet person, enjoyed
life on the farm and enjoyed taking his gun and walking across
the snow covered fields, hunting foxes, and rabbits.” She went
on to say that he also liked to fish and hunt pheasants. William
graduated from Groton High School in May, 1965. After high
school, William worked around Groton and for the railroad.
William entered the service on October 20, 1966, at Groton,
and then left for basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. William
Pasch commenced his tour of Vietnam on January 22, 1968 as a
Specialist Fourth Class, H Troop, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored
U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class William Ernest Pasch was
killed in action on May 11, 1968, “about 70 miles north of
Saigon when a direct hit was made by the enemy on a tank he was
operating.” His body was returned to the United States, and
after a funeral service at St. John Lutheran Church, he was
buried with military honors at the Groton Cemetery.
William received many awards. Among them were the National
Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign
Ribbon, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar and Marksman Badge
with Pistol Bar. He also received posthumously the Military
Merit Medal and the Gallantry Cross with Palm plus the Purple
Heart and the Bronze Star. His citation for the Bronze Star
reads as follows:
Specialist four E4 William E. Pasch, U.S.
Army, who distinguished himself by outstandingly meritorious
service in connection with military operations against a
hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. During the period
of 22 January 1968 to may 11, 1968, he consistently
manifested exemplary professionalism and initiative in
obtaining outstanding results. His rapid assessment and
solution of numerous problems inherent in a
counterinsurgency environment greatly enhanced the allied
effectiveness against a determined and aggressive enemy.
Despite many adversities he invariably performed his duties
in a resolute and efficient manner. Energetically applying
his sound judgment and extensive knowledge, he has
contributed materially to the successful accomplishment of
the United States mission in the Republic of Vietnam. His
loyalty, diligence, and devotion to duty were in keeping
with the highest traditions of the military service and
reflect great credit upon himself and the United States
The citation for Gallantry Cross with Palm is as follows:
Servicemen of courage and rare
self-sacrifice, they displayed at all times the most tactful
cooperation while aiding the Armed Forces of the Republic of
Viet Nam to repel the Red wave undermining South Vietnam and
With a ready zeal and commendable
response, they fought on to the end in every mission and set
a brilliant example for their fellow soldiers.
They died in the performance of duty.
Behind them they leave the abiding grief of their former
comrades-in-arms, Vietnamese, as well as Americans.
Mr. and Mrs. Pasch receiving William’s posthumous
William Pasch is currently survived by his mother, Lois,
Groton, and his brothers, Robert and Donald. His father, Walter,
and brother, Alroy, have passed away. In closing, his mother
said, “We have buried him with honors that are due a soldier
brave. Hs grave we’ve decked with flowers and the flag he helped
to save. He is gone but not forgotten.”
This entry was respectfully submitted by David Sigle and
Landon Langer, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish
South Dakota, on March 30, 2006. Information for this entry was
provided by a South Dakota Vietnam Veteran’s Bonus Application
and The Groton Independence May 16, 1968, May 31, 1968,
and June 6, 1968. Additional information and profile approval by
the Pasch family via Lois Pasch, mother.