Rank: 1st Lieutenant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: 54th Medical Detachment
Conflict: Vietnam War
Date of Action: 1/6/1968
Date of Issue: 10/9/1969
Medal Presented By: President Richard Nixon
After attending U.S. Army helicopter school, Patrick Brady earned his wings in 1963. Soon after, he was assigned to the 57th Medical Detachment in Vietnam where he began to develop successful flying techniques for patient rescue in poor weather conditions and when the helicopter was under fire. After his initial deployment in Vietnam, Brady was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia where he continued to fly medical helicopters. While there, he trained for the 54th Medical Detachment and was deployed to Vietnam in August of 1967.
The 54th Medical Detachment was stationed in Chu Lai and had increased from the 16,000 people Brady supported as part of his last company, to supporting half a million people. Brady furthered his flying skills and the 54th became specialists in combat pickups at night, in weather, and under fire, using techniques never before used in combat. On January 6, 1968, Brady was supposed to be off-duty. However, there was an extraordinary situation that required his help. He rose quickly and, despite warnings that the mission was impossible, set out to rescue the injured. On two occasions, his aircrafts were hit by enemy fire, and were damaged by an exploding mine on a third. Two crewmembers were wounded and by nightfall his three aircrafts had over four hundred holes in them. Most notably, Brady and his crew had rescued nearly a hundred wounded soldiers. Brady and his crew extracted soldiers from areas where others had failed. Of his heroic efforts that day, Brady says it was just like any other day. The difference this time was that someone cared to write about it. In his two tours in Vietnam, Brady flew over 2,000 combat missions and rescued over 5,000 injured soldiers.
After returning to the United States, Brady went on to obtain an MBA from Notre Dame and then continued his career with the Army where he served for 34 years and retired as a Major General. Brady, and his daughter Meghan, an Iraq War veteran, later published the book, Dead Men Flying, about his Vietnam experiences. It serves as his tribute to his mentor, Major Kelly’s legacy and to the humanitarian effort of the Vietnam veteran unreported in the annals of warfare. Brady also is an inductee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame and continues to be active in the Medal of Honor’s Character Development Program.
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