EWU ROTC Gold Star Alumni: Bruce Grandstaff


(US Army)

Rank: Sergeant First Class / Platoon Sergeant

Hometown: Spokane, WA

Branch: Infantry

Born: 02 June 1934

Death: 18 May 1967

Location: Plieku, Vietnam

Medal of Honor

In the Army, when a family loses a member in war, we refer to them as a “Gold Star Family.”  Each of our Eastern Washington University (EWU) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) graduates that were killed in action we consider them a “Gold Star Alumni” because they are part of our ROTC family.

SFC Grandstaff is the only Fighting Eagle Cadet to ever be recognized with the Medal of Honor.  Bruce Grandstaff enrolled into Eastern in 1952. Two years later in 1954, Grandstaff decided to enlist into the Army. He spent two years in the Army before returning to Eastern to continue his military science studies in 1956.  Grandstaff decided to reenlist in the Army in 1961. In 1967 he was deployed to Vietnam as a Platoon Sergeant. During an operation along the Cambodian border, Grandstaff’s platoon became surrounded by an estimated 700 enemy soldiers.

The battle lasted for 5 hours and Grandstaff was wounded in both legs as he rallied his men, coordinated helicopter strafing runs, and artillery fire against the attacking North Vietnamese troops. In a final act of courage Grandstaff ordered an artillery strike on top of his own position. He died that day on May 18, 1967.  He left behind a wife and three daughters, he was 32 years old.

The Department of Military Science offers condolences to the family of Platoon Sergeant and Sergeant First Class Bruce Grandstaff and commemorates his service for making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation.

Note: If any friends or family have any memories they would like to share about Bruce Grandstaff, please leave a note in the comments section because we would love to learn more about him. 

3 thoughts on “EWU ROTC Gold Star Alumni: Bruce Grandstaff”

  1. Hi, I am Bruce Grandstaff’s oldest daughter. I am honored to find my father listed here. Thank you. If you desire any further information about my father please let me know.

    Sincerely, Heather Grandstaff

  2. Thank you for honoring my father, Bruce Alan Grandstaff, here in our hometown of Spokane, Washington where my children and I reside. This comes after the renaming of the VA Medical Center of Spokane where my father is honored as a National Hero and now considered a historical figure. The renaming of the VA Medical Center was a result of a bipartisan Act of Congress signed into law by the President in 2012. I was given the privilege of speaking publicly on that day with our Congresswoman, Mayor, Senators, and Former VA Secretary. Afterward, I spoke with numerous staff members at Eastern regarding my father’s attendance at EWU and am very happy that Eastern now recognizes and honors their only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. I thought it only right that Eastern recognize the highest honor of a former student awarded by this country because my father studied Military Science on campus when EWU was known as Eastern Washington State College. He is an important role model from whom we all can learn. Thank you for all you do. If you have any questions or comments regarding my Dad, please feel free to contact me.

    • Tami, we thank you and Heather for commenting and sharing more information about your father. In recent years we have increased in our ROTC curriculum historical knowledge about the program and fallen former Cadets such as your father. Last year we had plaques built for all of our Fallen Cadets that we added to our Vietnam Memorial at Cadet Hall:

      EWU Vietnam Memorial

      We also put the prior picture of your father that was donated to the program in a more prominent location in the main stairwell where everyone walks and can read it. Your father’s picture sits next to Randy Van Turner who was also killed in action in Vietnam and recognized with the Silver Star. His fraternity funds a major scholarship in support of our EWU ROTC program.

      Stairway of Heroes

      I don’t know if you were invited to the renaming of the JBLM Library, but it to is named after your father and they have nice display there about him as well:


      If anyone from the Grandstaff family is ever in Cheney feel free to stop by Cadet Hall at any time to see the displays we have on your father.


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