Richard Lee Brech

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
10 February 1948 - 02 June 1969
Cottonwood, South Dakota
Panel 23W Line 042


Combat Infantry

Bronze Star (2 awards), Air Medal, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Richard Lee Brech

07 Sep 2003

Richard Lee Brech was known as "Butch" in his family. As a farm boy he might have obtained a deferral by claiming that he was needed on the family farm. Many other boys in the area had done so but Richard Brech said no and went to serve his country in Vietnam.

Richard was a member of the aero-rifle infantry platoon belonging to B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry. He did not die in Phuoc Long Province as stated in the official records. He died on Hill 376 southwest of Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province during Operation Lamar Plain. He and his platoon were inserted on the hill in the early afternoon and they were soon ambushed by a numerically superior NVA force well concealed in heavily fortified bunkers.

Two men were soon wounded and the medic "Doc" Guy LaPointe rushed to their aid. Brech, an RTO, took his radio and moved forward to check on La Pointe and the others. He became pinned down but was able to locate the enemy positions and began to radio the locations back to his platoon leader. Eventually Brech reached the three men and radioed back that all of them were dead. Brech himself was then mortally wounded by the enemy.

Richard Lee Brech posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal with "V" (his second award) for his courage that day. His friend, medic Joseph Guy "Doc" LaPointe, Jr, was posthumously awarded our nation's highest recognition of valor in combat, the Medal of Honor. I just wanted Richard to join Doc here on this site so that he could also be honored and remembered.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The five men with B Troop, 2/17th Cavalry, who were killed on Hill 376 near Tam Ky were
  • SP4 Richard L. Brech, Cottonwood, SD (Bronze Star "V")
  • SP4 Joseph G. La Pointe, Clayton, OH (Medal of Honor)
  • SGT Dennis G. Prince, Westland, MI
  • SSG Jimmie L. Reed, Tacoma, WA
  • SSG Emanuel L. Saunders, Washington, DC

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow Screaming Eagle,
Roger Ables 
7 Sep 2003

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/07/2005