Veterans still willing to serve

93

By Darren Perucci

The furnace downstairs was the loudest thing in the room as the 91-year-old WWII veteran thought about his experiences in the service of his country. As he stared into the distance, he seemed to be looking for a memory from years past. As he found the elusive memory, Archie Brady told what it meant to him to serve his country.

“I have nothing to give my country right now,” Brady said. “I’m too old, my hearing is gone and my health isn’t that good, but if my country called me, I’d go. This country is worth fighting for.”

Brady, a Duchesne native born in 1922, was one of four boys in his family who were called into the service. After failing an eye exam while attempting to enlist in the Marine Corps and again while attempting to join an artillery regiment, he was drafted into the Air Force in December of 1942 and sent to armament school and training.

From there, the 20-year-old recruit spent time in Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, England, Germany and France. In 1944, Brady was stationed in Belgium and involved in the Battle of the Bulge where he said he was closest to being in harms way.

“I was on the flight deck, getting ready for the day, and had just checked out the guns to our recently returned planes,” Brady said. “Seven German fighter planes came in on us and hit three of our planes that were lined up, including the one I was just in. I dove into a ditch as a shell hit the bank and threw mud and rocks all over me.”

Brady didn’t mention most of the harm he was in but his family was quick to prove his valor.

“Dad got a 3-inch gash on his right arm and has a scar to prove it,” said his daughter, Jean Anderson. “He could have been awarded the Purple Heart for injury in the midst of battle, but never applied for it.”

Despite foregoing the chance to earn the Purple Heart, Brady was still awarded eight other medals he did not have to apply for, including a Bronze Star authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

Brady spoke about the impending danger he was faced with during his time in Belgium.

“One of the German planes was so close, I could see the face of the pilot as he tried to deploy his parachute,” Brady said. “His [parachute] didn’t have time to open because the pilot was flying too close to the ground. I saw him land and he didn’t make it.”

He was also witness to the capture of another German pilot who landed in their midst.

“None of us spoke German,” Brady said. “He asked for a cigarette and somebody gave him a cigarette. I was proud of the way he was treated as a prisoner of war. ”

Brady was discharged in September of 1945 and was married that same December to his wife of 66 years, Norma. Although they do not have any special Veterans Day traditions, the couple often turn their thoughts to the current servicemen and servicewomen rather than thinking about his own service.

“He hardly ever talks about it,” Norma said.

Brady’s impact has been long lasting and he has touched the lives of countless people.  BYU graduate and grandson, Ben Brady named his first son after Brady because of the man he is.

“We named Archie after Grandpa because of everything he has done for the family,” Ben Brady said. “It was as if I was telling [my son]that out of all the questions he’d face in life, I’ll give you that name as somebody you can emulate.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email