FORT CHADBOURNE, BRONTE, Texas – On May 12, 2022, Fort Chadbourne hosted their annual “evening with a hero” event.

A crowd of nearly 500 gathered to hear a message from Medal of Honor recipient Major General Patrick Brady.  He received the medal of honor for his actions in Vietnam. This is the sixth event of its kind held at the fort. It is a fundraiser for the historic site, which has never received any state or federal funding. However staff at the fort says, it also serves as a reminder to guests.

“Our patriotism is disappearing and this is a program that we do every year to try to keep our patriotism going,” Garland Richards with the Fort Chadbourne administrative team said.

Major General Patrick Brady didn’t always want to be in the military. He had several scholarships to play football at various universities, but he decided to follow his heart and pursue a woman who would eventually become his wife.

He followed her to a university that didn’t have football but did have ROTC.

“ROTC was mandatory. I didn’t know that. I had to take 2 years of mandatory ROTC and I didn’t do well. I didn’t like it,” Brady said.

He ended up finishing the program after she encouraged him to but shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the Army.

“In those days you had to serve. You either got drafted or you got a commission and since I made more money with the commission, that’s the way I went. And so it was because of the foxy chick she started my career,” Brady said.

Now in the Army, his first assignment was in Berlin, Germany. He saw the wall being built and got an up close and personal look at communism. Then came Vietnam.

“Vietnam was just starting. I went to flight school and when I came out of flight school I volunteered to go to Vietnam. It gave me an opportunity to practice the skills with the helicopter and the medical stuff I learned here at Fort Sam, so I volunteered to go to Vietnam. And had probably the best job I ever had before or after. Our job every single day was just to save lives,” Brady said.

And that he did; making such and impact that he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

“The whole thing about medals…here’s the great thing about a medal. Very difficult to differentiate one from another but the great thing is that someone saw what you did, they appreciated it and they took the time to write it up. The action for the day of the medal of honor was different because we had to figure out a way to fly in weather…which I did,” Brady said.

That weather also present on the day of a call made to brady and his crew about a man who was snake bitten on a mountain. Doing what he does, Brady answered the call but the weather made it impossible to see. After multiple tries to rescue to the man, Brady said he wanted to try just one more time.

“You can’t see…only so many feet. And the wind blew me sideways, and I was looking out my window and that wind was the breath of God. I could see the rotor tip and I could see the top of the trees, guess what, I knew I was right side up. So I turned that sucker sideways and got that guy and we got him to the hospital and I think he lived. So that technique that I used accidentally that day was the technique I used the day I got the medal of honor. They had not seen it done before, somebody saw it, they appreciated it, they wrote it up…but me and my guys the other part of it…getting shot at, we used three aircraft, was pretty common occurrence. In a 9-and-a-half-month period the unit I was in with 40 men, six helicopters, any one time we would have three helicopters flyable we had an aircraft shot up every 4 or 5 days and we had mechanical problems and in a 9-and-a-half-month period those men carried 21,000 patients. 26 purple hearts that’s how many guys were wounded, but no one was killed, in an extraordinarily effective system but they were doing the same thing I did except for the weather part of it which that kind of made it stand out and that’s the whole basis for the medal,” Brady said.

So what does he say is the secret to success?

“Matters of courage. You can have all the courage you want, can’t use it up and it’s the key to success in life,” Brady said.

A fitting answer from a man whose display of courage is now cemented into history. 

Brady has also written a book about his time in Vietnam. He held a book signing after speaking to the crowd.

To watch the full, unedited conversation with Brady, click here.