Lt. John C. BREWTON was a Navy SEAL Platoon officer (1969) in combat against Communist forces in South Vietnam. Captain Bruce VAN HEERTUM was a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander (1967-68) in combat against Communist forces in Vietnam. Although both Navy SEALS took different paths to get to this point in their lives, they were connected as Platoon officers in the same time period in Vietnam.
While Lt. BREWTON succumbed to injuries sustained from severe wounds in a fierce battle, Captain Bruce VAN HEERTUM survived this period of extreme fighting. Both Navy SEALS led their men with extreme honor and dignity for which they were trained.
Lt. BREWTON and Captain VAN HEERTUM were decorated with a Silver Star, Purpleheart(s), Bronze star(s) with Combat “V”, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, etc.…
Captain VAN HEERTUM continued his long career (32 Yrs. USN Service, 30 Yrs. as Navy SEAL) becoming an Executive Officer of SEAL Team ONE, Commanding Officer of SEAL Team TWO, Commander of Special Boat Squadron ONE, Commander in Chief of US Pacific Fleet, ETC… On January 30th, 2018, Captain Bruce VAN HEERTUM passed away. He is truly an AMERICAN hero and also my honor to call Father-in-Law.
On July 8th, 1972, the US Navy Commissioned the USS BREWTON DE1086, a Destroyer Escort in honor of Lt. John C. BREWTON. In attendance was Captain Bruce VAN HEERTUM, his wife, and family including their nine-year-old daughter, Linda. Nine years later (81-85), I saluted the Flag and asked permission to board the USS BREWTON. A couple years later I met Linda and we are going on 33 years strong.
There are many many more stories Veterans love to share when asked. Part of being Sir Knights involved with Assembly #3591 is to honor our Veterans. We have heroes among us and we are always looking for ways to honor our Veterans from our council, our community and beyond. If you are a third Degree Knight and thinking about joining the patriotic degree, we have an exemplification March 3rd in Tucson and June 9th in Phoenix. Please ask any Sir Knight for information about becoming a 4th degree Sir Knight and we will get you the proper paperwork for this honor.
Dan Blomberg, FN, Assembly #3591