Gordon Brande was born in 1936 in Long Beach, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 11, 1954, and after attending basic training and armor school at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he served as a tank crewman with the 72nd Tank Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington, from January to May 1955. His next assignment was as a tank driver, tank loader, and tank gunner with Company B, 44th Tank Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from June 1955 to March 1957, followed by service with Company C, 370th Armored Infantry Battalion in West Germany from March 1957 to July 1958. PFC Brande left active duty on July 29, 1958, but reenlisted on December 19, 1958, attending Military Police training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, from February to April 1959. His next assignment was as an MP with the 515th Ordnance Company at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico from April 1959 until he left active duty a second time on March 8, 1962. SP5 Brande reenlisted a 3rd time on April 2, 1962, and served as a tank driver with Troop A, 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Ord, California, from April 1962 to January 1963. He then attended Medical Corpsman and Special Forces Aidman Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Special Forces Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before serving as a Special Forces Medical Specialist with Company A, 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa, from March 1964 to August 1965. Sgt Brande next served as a Special Forces Medical Specialist with Company A, 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg from October 1965 to March 1966, when he deployed to Southeast Asia. He served as a Special Forces Medical Specialist and Operations Sergeant with Company C, 5th Special Forces Group, and as a platoon leader with 12th Company, A-113 Mobile Strike Force in South Vietnam from April 1966 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War at Lang Vei, South Vietnam, on February 7, 1968. Sgt Brande managed to escape from his captors on February 18, 1968, but was recaptured 7 days later. After spending 1,865 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 16, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and then served as a Welfare & Recreation NCO at Fort Sam Houston until his retirement from the Army on February 27, 1975.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Sergeant First Class Brande distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 6 and 7 February 1968 as platoon leader of a Vietnamese strike force defending against an attack on the Lang Vei Special Forces camp. Enemy sappers and infantrymen initiated an assault on the perimeter under the cover of darkness, and they were quickly followed by communist tanks. Firing furiously, Sergeant Brande killed two of the sappers and his platoon dispersed the remainder. The hostile armor quickly broke through the outer perimeter, and he engaged them with grenades and anti-tank weapons. Braving withering machine gun and cannon fire, he and his men fought determinedly for over an hour before they were forced to pull back to secure the inner defensive perimeter. His accurate fire destroyed two enemy tanks before he withdrew. Sergeant First Class Brande's gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.