There were many heroes during the long war in Southeast Asia. Patrick Henry Brady, an Army "Dust Off" pilot, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. The son of one of Darby's Rangers from World War II, he was born in Phillip, South Dakota, in 1936. In 1959, Brady was commissioned through Army ROTC upon graduation from Seattle University. After training at the Army Medical Service School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, he was assigned to the 6th Infantry Division in Germany. In June 1963, he reported to the Army's Primary Helicopter School at Fort Wolters, Texas. After completing helicopter training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in December 1963, Brady was assigned to the 57th Medical Detachment (Aerial Ambulance) flying the UH-1 Iroquois for the first of two tours in South Vietnam.
During his first tour he served as a medical evacuation pilot and detachment commander in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam. In January 1965, he was reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he helped in the formation of the 11th Air Assault Division--predecessor to the famed 1st Air Cavalry Division. Between August 1965 and February 1966, Brady twice deployed to the Dominican Republic in support of US peacekeeping forces. He returned to Vietnam in August 1967 for his second combat tour in the UH-1. Assigned to the 54th Medical Detachment at Chu Lai, he served as Commander and Operations Officer. On 6 January 1968, in response to a "medevac" request from a Special Forces camp at Hau Duc, Brady repeatedly faced enemy fire to evacuate wounded South Vietnamese soldiers. For this action, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented by President Nixon on 9 October 1969. During his two tours in South Vietnam, he rescued over 5,000 wounded soldiers!
Returning to the states, he served in four different staff positions and in March 1976 took command of the 326th Medical Battalion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After graduation from Army War College in 1978, he had a wide variety of key assignments. These include Secretary to the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission in Korea; and Chief of Staff, First United States Army at Fort Meade, Maryland. His current assignment is Chief of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Army.
On 5 January 1968, a call came for the medevac of wounded South Vietnamese soldiers in the fog-shrouded valley near Chu Lai. Seven rescue attempts failed due to the poor weather. The next day, Major Brady volunteered for the mission. Six times during the day, Brady and his crew in DUST OFF 55 faced intense enemy fire and miserable weather to evacuate 51 severely wounded soldiers. In the process, he used three different helicopters and two of his crewmen were wounded. At the end of the day, mechanics counted over 400 bullet holes in his three aircraft. For this extraordinary performance, Major Brady received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first awarded to a DUST OFF pilot.