Helicopter Crew Member Medal of Honor information
for 54 MED DET
23 INF DIV
Callsign = DUSTOFF 55
198 LIB

For date 680105


54 MED DET was a US Army unit
23 INF DIV was a US Army unit
198 LIB was a US Army unit
Primary service involved, US Army
Quang Tin Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Location, Chu Lai
Description: MAJ Patrick H. Brady was DUSTOFF 55 and also the Commanding Officer of the 54th Medical Detachment based at Chu Lai. His day began with an early morning mission to reach two critically wounded ARVNs in an LZ in a mountain valley blanked with fog. Two other DUSTOFFs had tried to reach the LZ but the fog was so thick the crews could not see the ends of the rotor blades. Brady opened his window and flew sideways to try to blow the fog out of his way. He managed to make out a trail and followed it to the camp where he landed in a small clearing between the inner and outer wire. He loaded the two patients plus four others and flew them to an aid station. Brady's second mission was to help retrieve 60 casualties from a company of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade that had been under attack by six NVA companies since the previous afternoon. One DUSTOFF had been forced to turn back when the pilot suffered vertigo from zero visibility due to fog and low clouds while attempting to carry a medical team into the unit. Brady loaded the team into his Huey, took off, found a hole in the clouds and descended to treetop level. He flew low level for 20 minutes before locating the stricken unit. After loading the most seriously wounded, they made an instrument take-off through the clouds and back to FSB WEST. Brady made three more trips to the unit and brought out a total of 18 litter and 21 ambulatory wounded, nine of which would have died if they had waited until the fog cleared. Each time, three other DUSTOFF ships tried to follow Brady through the fog to the wounded and each time they had to give up and return to the base. Brady's next mission was to evacuate wounded from an American unit surrounded by the enemy. The LZ was hot and the DUSTOFF ship was the target, so he turned his tail boom towards the heaviest fire to protect the crew and hovered backwards toward the wounded. The enemy fire was so intense the surviving Americans would not rise up to load their wounded, so Brady took off and circled until he was called in again. This time he repeated the backward hover and the wounded were loaded for the flight to Chu Lai. Brady changed aircraft and crew before going out to get wounded from a platoon from the 198th LIB that had were ambushed with pressure detonated mines and automatic weapons fire. Six were died and the rest were wounded. One DUSTOFF landed, but took off again when a mine detonated nearby, killing two more soldiers. When Brady arrived, the wounded were still laying in the minefield, so he landed and waited while the crew chief and medic gathered up the wounded, disregarding the enemy fire and mines. As they neared the ship with one solider, a mine detonated only five meters away, throwing the men into the air and perforating the Huey. The shaken crew finished loading the wounded and Brady flew them out. Back at Chu Lai, Brady found another ship and flew two more missions before his day was over. He had evacuated 51 wounded and would earn the Medal of Honor.

The source for this information was The Helicopter War P:100


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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021