PATRICK J BREMS

PATRICK J BREMS - PFC

  • HOMETOWN:
  • mahwah
  • COUNTY:
  • Bergen
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • September 19, 1946
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • April 01, 1966
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Patrick John Brems was born on September 19, 1946, Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Brems.  He grew up in River Edge, NJ, and attended River Dell High School.  In 1965, his parents moved to Mahwah, NJ.  His home of record is Mahwah, NJ.

Brems enlisted into the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).  He went through Military Police School at Fort Gordon, GA, in 1966.  He volunteered for service in Vietnam and was assigned to Company C, 716th Battalion in Saigon. 

"It looks like a place at war, " he wrote in his first and last letter home, "It's very dirty and very hot and I have been sick since I arrived here."

On April 1, 1966, Brems was killed in a terrorist explosion in front of the Victoria Hotel in Saigon leaving behind his parents and a 14-year-old sister, Coleen.

Brem's parents stated in a local newspaper article that they had read the story about the hotel explosion during breakfast and both had a feeling that Patrick was one of those who died.  It was actually no surprise to Mary Brems when, later in the day, a priest and two Army men came to her home to tell her the news.

Brems was awarded a Silver Star. The citation reads:
For gallantry in action:  Private First Class Brems distinguished himself on 1 April 1966 while serving as a military policeman performing security duties at the Victoria Hotel, a billet for American officers in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam.  At approximately 0510 hours, a Viet Cong terrorist force approached the hotel with an explosive laden vehicle in at attempt to destroy the hotel and kill the American officers living there.  As the terrorist approached his position, Private First Class Brems opened fire in the face of overwhelming odds and encouraged his Vietnamese counterpart to attempt to repulse the Viet Cong attack.  Facing the charging vehicle and intense automatic weapons fire, he delivered maximum fire power and forced the driver to abandon the vehicle short of its intended goal.  With complete disregard for his personal safety, Private First Class Brems continued to fire at the escaping terrorists until he was mortally wounded by the explosion of the vehicle.  Through his courage, and devotion to duty, he not only prevented the explosive laden vehicle from entering the hotel, but also provided warning time for the occupants of the building to take cover.  Because of Private First Class Brems' extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior hostile force at the cost of his life was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

At Fort Gordon, there is a Brems Barracks complex dedicated in Patrick's memory.  The barracks is home to the 4th Training Brigade of which Brems was a member.  The complex includes 61 buildings and is constructed on a 71-acre site.

The American Legion Post in Mahwah has been named in memory of Patrick Brems and two other Mahwah casualties, Norman Hetzel and Everett Meester.

Sources: Daryl Achenbach (friend), American Legion Post 531, newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.

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