SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of Army SP4

Richard Leo Brech

Cottonwood, South Dakota, Jackson County

 February 10, 1948-June 2, 1969

Killed in action near Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam

Richard (Butch) Leo Brech was born in Kadoka, South Dakota, on February 10, 1948, to Delmar Leo and Minnie Lorene (Peterson) Brech. He had four sisters: Nadine, Judy, Norma, and Barbara, and two brothers, Scott and Darrel. Richard was interested in mechanics and all types of sports. He grew up on the family farm and loved the animals. A special pet of Richard’s was the family dog Blacky. Before Richard graduated from Philip High School in 1966, he gave his youngest brother Scott a puppy. This was the first pet allowed in the house. After high school, Richard attended college in Denver for one year.

Richard Brech entered the Army on April 17, 1968 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He completed basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and was also stationed at Fort Ord, California, and Fort Hood, Texas. Sp 4 Brech arrived in Vietnam on March 25, 1969, and was assigned to B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division.

Specialist Richard Leo Brech was killed in action in Vietnam on Hill 376, southwest of Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province on June 2nd, 1969, in Operation Lamar Plain when hostile forces were encountered. Richard Leo Brech posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” (his second award) for his courage while fighting in Vietnam. The citation for the Bronze Star reads, in part:

Specialist Brech distinguished himself while serving as a radio telephone operator in troop B, 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, on a combat mission near the city of Hue, Republic of Vietnam. As the lead element of his infantry unit moved toward the enemy position, it came under heavy automatic weapons fire. Three of specialist Brech’s comrades fell severely wounded. In an attempt to help them, he moved toward the area where they were hit. He immediately was pinned down, but managed to spot the enemy positions and relay the information back to his platoon leader. When the remainder of the squad maneuvered to flank the enemy position, Specialist Brech continued to identify the position of the insurgents. He then moved to the side of his fallen comrades under a base of protective fire from his platoon. As he approached the casualties, he immediately relayed their conditions back to the platoon leader. At this time, he again came under fire and fell mortally wounded. Specialist Brech’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Specialist Brech also received the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Burial services were held on June 16, 1969, with interment in the Philip Masonic Cemetery in Philip, South Dakota. Sp 4 Richard Brech’s name can be found on Panel 23W, Line 042 of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

A close friend and fellow soldier wrote the following words to the family of Sp 4 Brech:

…They say only the good die young…In my mind Butch was as good as they come. I dare say he was one of the finest men and best friend I have ever known. Friends are not easy to come by, and when you find one like Rich they’re even harder to part with. He left me with a lot of good memories and a friendship that will always be…

Morgan Finley, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 15, 2005, respectfully submitted this profile. Specialist Brech’s sisters, Norma Schilling, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, Nadine Kasper, Grand Junction, Colorado, his mother, Minnie Brech, Philip, South Dakota, and two comrades in arms, Roger Ables, and J.R. Baltazar provided information.


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