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Posted on: August 23, 2023

Bucks County Renames Yardley Bridge for Army Pilot Killed in Vietnam

William Warren Breece

Bucks County Bridge #313 in Yardley reopened today as the Warrant Officer William Warren Breece, Jr. Memorial Bridge. 

Breece, of Morrisville, was killed in action Dec. 5, 1968, while serving as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  

The 20-year-old Pennsbury High School graduate had been in Vietnam for just six weeks when, despite being outnumbered and already severely wounded, he initiated an attack to aid friendly soldiers on the ground. While on his attack run, Breece was struck and mortally wounded by an enemy round.

People standing next to a sign on a bridge

PHOTO: From left, Bucks County Commissioners Gene DiGirolamo, Bob Harvie and Diane Ellis-Marseglia, joined by Yardley Borough Mayor Chris Harding and veterans' advocate Ed Preston, stand Wednesday atop the newly dedicated Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge. 

“In his final moments, Warrant Officer Breece displayed a bravery and commitment to his countrymen that should inspire us all,” said Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie. “We are immensely grateful for his service, and for the opportunity to make this small piece of his hometown a permanent part of his legacy.”  

The county-owned bridge dedicated in Breece’s memory crosses the Delaware Canal at Letchworth Avenue, Yardley. It is the fourth bridge dedicated to the memory of a fallen Vietnam soldier as part of a project, administered in partnership local veterans’ advocate Ed Preston, meant to honor Bucks County residents who died in the Vietnam War.

For his “quick thinking, aggressive action and extraordinary heroism in close combat,” Breece was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. He is credited with saving numerous friendly lives. 

Breece is buried in Newtown Cemetery.

A man touching a sign.

PHOTO: Moments after the bridge's dedication, a man on Wednesday touches the newly unveiled sign atop Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man speaking at a podium while other men stand on a bridge

PHOTO: Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie speaks Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A woman speaking at a podium as others look on

PHOTO: Commissioner Vice Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia speaks Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man speaking at a podium as others look on

PHOTO: Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo speaks Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man speaking at a podium as others look on

PHOTO: Bucks County Veterans Affairs Director Matt Allen speaks Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man speaking at a podium as others look on

PHOTO: Bucks County-based veterans advocate Ed Preston speaks Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man speaking at a podium as others look on

PHOTO: Bucks County-based veterans' advocate Mike Sodano on Wednesday read letters from a childhood friend and the younger brother of the late Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., during the dedication ceremony of a bridge in honor of the Yardley Borough native.

 A man smiling as he speaks with others

PHOTO: Community members, veterans and veterans' advocates, including the Warriors' Watch Riders, were in attendance Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man holding an American flag

PHOTO: Community members, veterans and veterans' advocates, including the Warriors' Watch Riders, were in attendance Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man wearing a jacket covered in patches

PHOTO: Community members, veterans and veterans' advocates, including the Warriors' Watch Riders, were in attendance Wednesday during the dedication of the Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

A man removing a covering from a sign on a bridge

PHOTO: As a crowd looks on, a man on Wednesday unveils a sign atop the newly dedicated Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., Memorial Bridge in Yardley Borough.

Three men standing next to a sign on a bridge.

PHOTO: Three men stand next to a sign Wednesday honoring the late Warrant Officer William W. Breece, Jr., atop the bridge in Yardley Borough that had just been dedicated in his honor.

Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, jtomalley@buckscounty.org


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