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Captain Bruce Van Heertum, age 77, of Peachtree City, passed away January 30, 2018.
Captain Bruce Van Heertum was born on July 6, 1940 in Englewood, NJ. He entered the Naval Service in July 1958. Following recruit training and graduation from Radioman “A” school he served in USS Waller and USS Plymouth Rock before volunteering for Underwater Demolition Team. Subsequently, Captain Van Heertum , was assigned Underwater Demolition Teams Twenty One and Twenty Two prior to attending Officer Candidate School and receiving his commission as and an Ensign in December 1965.
His assignments since commissioning have included:
• Communication officer on the USS Southerland
• SEAL Team ONE as platoon Commander
• Officer in Charge and Executive Officer of SEAL Team Detachment in Vietnam
• Naval Ordnance Systems Command, Vietnam
• Naval Special Warfare Group, Vietnam
• United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
• Naval Special Warfare Group ONE staff
• Commander in Chief US Pacific Fleet
• Joint Special Operations Agency
• Commander SEAL Team TWO
• Commander Special Boat Squadron ONE
• Deputy, Special Operations Command Pacific
• Special Operations Command Europe as Chief of Staff
Captain Van Heertum held the following awards:
• Sliver Star
• Defense Superior Service Medal
• Bronze Star with Combat “V” and star in lieu of a second award
• Meritorious Service Medal
• Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V”
• Navy Commendation Medal
• Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V”
• Purple Heart with Star in lieu of second award
• Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Brigade Level)
• Vietnamese Honor Medal (Third Class)
Mr. Van Heertum was preceded in death by his parents: Mother Jean Paxton Glover and Parents Arnold and Irene Van Heertum. He is survived by his wife: Felicia Van Heertum; daughters and sons-in-law: Linda and Daniel Blomberg, and Sandra and John Burns; son: Steven Van Heertum; step-daughter: Natalie Buda Smith; grandchildren: Christopher (Sarah) Blomberg, Katie (Matt) Sauter, Zachary (Lauren) Blomberg, Sicily Buda Smith, and Alani Buda Smith; great-grandchildren: Emmitt and Tillman Blomberg; brother: Ronald Van Heertum; sister: Jan Wedderman.
Captain Bruce Van Heertum will be returned to the sea on Nov 4, 2018 in Fort Pierce FL at the National Navy SEAL Museum.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to the National Navy Seal Museum, Fort Pierce, Florida.
The Van Heertum family is being assisted by Georgia Cremation, 1086 Hwy 54 West, Fayetteville.
Linda Schwamb Buro says
My deepest sympathy to you and your family during this difficult time. Thank you for your service Captain Van Heertum. Rest In Peace.
Jeff and Kathy Einhorn says
In memory of a great American hero–thank you for your service. Our deepest condolences to Felicia, Bruce’s children and grandchildren, and all of his other family members.
Carmen Zambito says
To a hero who made my cousin Felicia so very very happy.
John III and Rosanne Van Heertum says
Deepest sympathies to all the Van Heertum family. May he rest in peace. I am proud to hold the same last name as his. A real Naval hero.
Donna Kirsch says
Felicia, you must have a treasure house of joyful memories that will give you strength and courage during this most difficult of times. My thoughts and prayers are with you and family members. He lived a full, proud and honorable life. The light of your life will always shine in your heart. Hugs to you my dear. Love, Donna
Robert and Angela Adam says
Dear Felicia. We hold in our hearts fond memories of you and Bruce. Bob has know him over 70 years and they shared many moments together. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.
Neil T Freeman says
RIP sir. You are one of my heroes.
Irene (Sarich) & Gene O;Neill says
Dear Felicia and family,
Bruce was a wonderful person. And, our lives are richly blessed to have known him.. He was a true American hero! Our hero!!!!! and a witness to all.~ Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers.
Irene & Gene
Ree Waltzer says
My prayers, love and heart go out to you and your family. What a wonderful man, so impressed with his great service to our Country.
Jacque & Richard says
So thankful for his service to our country! Our prayers and love go out to you, Felicia and family.
Joseph van Heertum says
I never met him but I am proud of him and what he has done for this country and all the accomplishments he has made and I am proud to call my self him grandson
Sandy Easterling says
My heart goes out to you and your family. He was a real hero to our country and I thank him for that. May God be with you and your family during your time of sorrow and after.
Paul Plumb says
Bruce was the consummate, hard working professional.
So many honor his reputation as the “diligent Dutch man;”
a SEAL who knew no quick result only the correct result.
Dave Watts says
I was Bruce’s platoon officer in UDT-22 and eventually the executive officer of that Team. I encouraged him to apply for the program to go directly to OCS and become an officer and was so proud of him when he was accepted. He gave me a miniature officer’s sword, engraved, when he was commissioned and I have it on my desk today, 63 years later. Our paths separated then and I communicated with him a few years ago, hoping we would reunite at a SEAL Museum Muster. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Bruce was a true sailor and a remarkable SEAL. I was proud to have served with him.
Dick Hauff says
Bruce and I served together at UDT 22 and it was always a pleasure working with him; a true “geterdone” type officer. Also visited Bruce in OCS at Newport.
RIP Bruce and condolences to his family.
John Carl Roat says
God Bless your service to us and our country. May your loved ones find piece in the Honor of your life Green Brother! You are a Frogman of the First Order!
Joe DeFloria says
Rest in Peace Bruce, your mission here on earth has been completed. Well Done!
Hershel Davis says
He was a tough man in a lot of ways, but in our line of work tough can get you there. Never had the privilege of serving with him, but we crossed paths on many occasions. Hope the Sky Frog welcomes him aboard and he will be in my prayers at church this Sunday.
Jr and Bonnie says
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.
Jr and Bonnie says
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Thomas Kleehammer says
Give em hell, Bruce, up there as you did here throughout your Naval career. Learned a lot from you, and choose to remember the best times together.
Beth VanHeertum Nutt says
The Nutt Family sends you our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. Thank you Uncle Bruce for your service to our country.
Julie Parkinson says
Linda, Steven and Sandy, my sympathies to you and all your family. Imagine our dads are hanging out together playing “Remember the time….”
Vito "doc" Almaraz says
My deepest condolences to the VanHeertum family as I remember Bruce’s unflagging love for his country and an example of the pride in wearing the uniform. I remember while stationed in Hawaii, driving to lunch, Bruce would have me pull over to dress down a sailor wearing the uniform sloppily. Who could say no to Bruce. He helped me become who I am. My best friend CDR Al Bell would often wonder about Bruce. Al passed away August 22. I will keep you all in my prayers
Chris Phillips says
Godspeed, Shipmate! Fair winds and following seas, Skipper!
DC3 Chris Phillips, USNR
USS Newport (LST 1179)
Fire Captain / Paramedic(Retired)
Prof. Tim Newfields says
My oldest brother Robert Horne wrote a poem in honor of Bruce back
in 2007 shortly before he died. I just received a copy of that poem
and share it (with some very minor changes) with his friends –
I Love To Be A Giver,
But I Need An Audience For My Art:
I Believe All Art Is A Performance –
That Rises From The Heart!!
When Bach Composed His Music,
He Initialed It “For The Greater Glory Of God”:
If He Had Any Trouble, He Said “Help Me, Jesus” –
And Became A Holy Lightning Rod!!
I Love To Be Applauded,
And Receive Appreciative Gifts Too:
But These Gifts That You Are Sending –
Do Cost Too Much For You!!
The Artworks I’ve Been Sending,
Are Very Much My Own:
But They‘re Not My Original Drawings –
Though Of Limited Edition, From A Copier Near Home!!
It Gives Me Joy To Share,
For I’ve Seen Great Beauty By The Sea:
And Though Still Bedridden –
I See Beyond The Things That Be!!
* * *
By guess is that some of my brothers lighthouse drawings caught
the eyes of Bruce. I hope to put some of those drawings online
in the months ahead. Rest well, Bruce!
GORDON SPANEK says
Bruce and I were the best of friends in grammer school. We did everything together. Gordon Spanek
Rita Pike says
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.