Funeral services for Charles Bruch will be held at 12:00 P.M. on Friday, October 6, 2023, in the Labby Memorial Funeral Home of Leesville. Burial will follow in the Old Leesville Cemetery in Leesville.
Visitation will be Friday, October 6, 2023, from 11:00 A.M.– 12:00 P.M. in the funeral home.
Charles Bruch, age 90, passed away on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. He was born on January 11, 1933, to Daniel and Louise Bruch in Blairstown, Iowa. He grew up on farms in Iowa and graduated from Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, in 1951. Charles retired as a Sergeant Major from the United States Army in 1981 after serving for 29 years.
Charles began his military career by joining the Iowa National Guard in 1952, and in March of 1953 he was drafted for the Korean War. By late 1953 he was in West Germany as part of the Occupation Forces helping secure West Germany from East Germany and the Soviet Union. He was part of a crew for an “Atomic Annie”, a 280 mm M65 cannon, the U.S. Army’s first nuclear-capable artillery piece. Charles remained in West Germany until 1956. After a brief return to the United States, he was once again sent to Korea, this time to guard the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). At this time, he also attended Artillery Fire Direction Control Training and spent the remainder of his military career in Fire Direction Control positions. After Korea he was sent to Ft. Lewis in Washington State where he designed a Mobile Fire Direction Control Center and was awarded his first Army Commendation Medal for the design. After arctic training in Alaska, which included skiing over 100 miles, he was assigned to Schofield Barracks Hawaii. From Hawaii, Charles was deployed to Vietnam, where he was part of the Fire Control Center that coordinated strikes by Air Force planes, Navy ships and Army Artillery on North Vietnamese targets.
After Vietnam he was assigned as an active-duty advisor to an Army reserve unit in Connecticut. While there he also served as the Army representative who would visit deceased soldiers’ families before they received written notice of their sons’ deaths. After another tour at the Korean DMZ, this time with nuclear capable Honest John Rockets, he began an ROTC instructor position at the University of Connecticut. Another tour of West Germany followed, where he participated in several NATO training exercises along the border between West and East Germany. An assignment at the Seneca Army Depot in upstate New York followed where he served as a trainer/instructor to reserve units at the Seneca Depot and at Ft. Drum in northern New York. Charles’ last duty assignment was at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, where he served as an Operations Sergeant Major.
Charles’ military awards include Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service medals, three Army Commendation Medals, and The Republic of Vietnam Civil Action medal.
After retiring from the Army, Charles became an instructor for the Central Texas College campus at Ft. Polk. He also managed the Band Boosters’ concession stands for Leesville High School throughout the 1980’s. In 2004, after 22 years with Central Texas College, he retired once again. His hobbies after retirement were gardening, feeding the birds and squirrels at his house, and delivering The Guardian newspaper from Ft. Polk to people and businesses in Leesville.
While he was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Charles married Anne Frances Sweet, from Elbridge, New York, who was a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. Before she passed away in 2014, Anne and Charles celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a small party of friends and family.
Charles was predeceased by his wife Anne; his parents; his two brothers, William and John; and his sister, Mary. Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Molly (David) Wascom of Spring, Texas; Louisa (Michael) Naber of Denver, CO; his two grandchildren, Ian Wascom of Albuquerque, NM, and Sarah Naber of Denver, CO; his sisters: Helen Rabe of Blairstown, IA, and Jean Hayes of Ely, MN, and many nieces and nephews.
His family would like to thank his friends, the staff of Companion Care of Leesville, and the staff of Brookdale Cypress Station Senior Living in Houston for all their help and kindness through the years.
The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider donating to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Alzheimer’s Association, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), or their favorite charity.