Gene Brady was born on March 27, 1928, in York, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on June 4, 1946, and after completing basic training, he served at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, until he was selected for the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in June 1949. Sgt Brady was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps and designated a Naval Aviator on December 18, 1950, and then served as an F2H-2 Banshee and F4U Corsair pilot with VMF-122 at MCAS Cherry Point from December 1950 to May 1951. His next assignment was as an F9F-2 Panther pilot with VMF-223 at MCAS Cherry Point from May to December 1951, followed by service as an F9F-2 pilot with VMF-311 at K-3 in South Korea from January to July 1952, during which time he completed 78 combat missions during the Korean War. Lt Brady remained in Korea from July to September 1952 as Assistant Provost Marshal with MABS-33 at K-3, and then served as an R4Q Packet pilot with VMR-252, and as an Operations Officer on the staff at MCAS Cherry Point from September 1952 to October 1955. His next assignment was as an Assistant Inspector with Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic at Norfolk, Virginia, from November 1955 to September 1957, followed by service as a flight instructor at MAS Corpus Christi, Texas, from September 1957 to March 1959. Capt Brady served as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, from March to November 1959, and then as Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS El Toro, California, from November 1959 to December 1960. Maj Brady then served as an F4D Skyray pilot, Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer with VMF(AW)-542 at MCAS El Toro and at Atsugi, Japan, from December 1960 to October 1963, followed by service as Assistant S-3 at MCAS Quantico, Virginia, from November 1963 to September 1964. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron at MCAS Quantico from September 1964 to January 1966, and then as Commanding Officer of the Station Operations and Engineering Squadron at MCAS Quantico from January to September 1966. LtCol Brady received an assignment to complete his degree program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from September 1966 to May 1967, and then attended A-4 Skyhawk and jet refresher training at MCAS El Toro from June to October 1967. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of MABS-33 at MCAS El Toro from December 1967 to July 1968, followed by CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter training from July to October 1968. He then served as a CH-46 pilot and S-3 of Marine Aircraft Group 16 at Marble Mountain, South Vietnam, from October to December 1968, and then as Commanding Officer of HMM-364, the Purple Foxes, at Marble Mountain from January to August 1969. He remained in South Vietnam from August to October 1969 as Assistant Operations Officer, G-3, with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at DaNang. During this time, Col Brady flew 350 combat missions during the Vietnam War. His next assignment was on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon from October 1969 to July 1971, followed by Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from July 1971 to June 1972. He then attended Shippensburg State College, Pennsylvania, where he earned his Master's degree in August 1972. Col Brady served as Commanding Officer of MCAS Tustin, California, from August 1972 to July 1974, and then as Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 16 at MCAS Tustin and MCAF Camp Pendleton from July 1974 to June 1975. His next assignment was as Chief of Staff at MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa, from July 1975 to December 1977, followed by service as Special Assistant to the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea in South Korea from January 1978 to December 1979. His final assignment was as Inspector with the Commander, Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area at MCAS El Toro from January 1980 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on October 1, 1980. Gene Brady died on June 9, 2011.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 15 May 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Brady launched as Aircraft Commander of a transport helicopter assigned the mission of medically evacuating several seriously wounded Marines from an area northwest of An Hoa in Quang Nam Province. Arriving over the designated location, he was advised by the ground commander that the vastly outnumbered unit was surrounded by the enemy, some as close as thirty meters to the Marines' positions. Fully aware of the dangers involved, and despite rapidly approaching darkness and deteriorating weather conditions, Lieutenant Colonel Brady elected to complete his mission. As he commenced a high-speed, low-altitude approach to the confined zone, he came under a heavy volume of hostile automatic weapons fire which damaged his aircraft but did not deter him from landing. During the considerable period of time required to embark the casualties, the landing zone was subjected to intense enemy mortar fire, several rounds of which landed perilously close to the transport, rendering additional damage to the helicopter. However, Lieutenant Colonel Brady displayed exceptional composure as he calmly relayed hostile firing positions to fixed-wing aircraft overhead and steadfastly remained in his dangerously exposed position until all the wounded men were safely aboard. Demonstrating superb airmanship, he then executed a series of evasive maneuvers as he lifted from the fire-swept zone, and subsequently delivered the casualties to the nearest medical facility. His heroic and determined actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in saving the lives of eight fellow Marines. By his courage, superior aeronautical ability, and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Lieutenant Colonel Brady upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.