Oscar Nominated actor, Gary Sinise, and Medal of Honor recipient, General Patrick Henry Brady, will participate in what promises to be one of the most inspirational Warbirds in Review fora ever presented at EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh.
Gary Sinise is known to most of us as ‘Lieutenant Dan’, the character he played in the Oscar-winning film, Forrest Gump, and as ‘Mac Taylor’, the lead character in the long-running TV series, CSI: New York. He is equally well known for his patriotism and tireless support of our troops, veterans and first responders. To formally carry out that mission, he formed the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011. Much of Sinise’s patriotic commitment stems from the tradition of service that runs deep in his family. His connection to the B-17 Flying Fortress came through his uncle, Jack Sinise, who flew 30 missions as a B-17 lead-navigator in WWII. Sadly, Uncle Jack passed away in October of last year. That same month, Gary lost another one of his heros – and closest friends – his brother in law, Jack Treese, who served 23 years in the U.S. Army, earning two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Among other assignments, Treese served as a combat medic with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.
General Patrick Brady knows first-hand the heroism often required of combat medics like Jack Treese. During two tours of duty as a helicopter medevac pilot in Viet Nam, he flew more than 2,000 missions and evacuated more than 5,000 wounded. On January 6th, 1968, Brady and his crews used three different helicopters to evacuate 51 wounded soldiers, for which he received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration.
His official presidential Medal of Honor citation reads as follows…
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Major Patrick Henry Brady (ASN: 0-88015), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Medical Service Corps, 54th Medical Detachment, 67th Medical Group, 44th Medical Brigade, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, on 6 January 1968. Major Brady, commanding a UH-1H ambulance helicopter, volunteered to rescue wounded men from a site in enemy held territory which was reported to be heavily defended and to be blanketed by fog. To reach the site he descended through heavy fog and smoke and hovered slowly along a valley trail, turning his ship sideward to blow away the fog with the backwash from his rotor blades. Despite the unchallenged, close-range enemy fire, he found the dangerously small site, where he successfully landed and evacuated two badly wounded South Vietnamese soldiers. He was then called to another area completely covered by dense fog where American casualties lay only 50 meters from the enemy. Two aircraft had previously been shot down and others had made unsuccessful attempts to reach this site earlier in the day. With unmatched skill and extraordinary courage, Major Brady made four flights to this embattled landing zone and successfully rescued all the wounded. On his third mission of the day Major Brady once again landed at a site surrounded by the enemy. The friendly ground force, pinned down by enemy fire, had been unable to reach and secure the landing zone. Although his aircraft had been badly damaged and his controls partially shot away during his initial entry into this area, he returned minutes later and rescued the remaining injured. Shortly thereafter, obtaining a replacement aircraft, Major Brady was requested to land in an enemy minefield where a platoon of American soldiers was trapped. A mine detonated near his helicopter, wounding two crewmembers and damaging his ship. In spite of this, he managed to fly six severely injured patients to medical aid. Throughout that day Major Brady utilized three helicopters to evacuate a total of 51 seriously wounded men, many of whom would have perished without prompt medical treatment. Major Brady’s bravery was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
Such men as these…
In remembering the Sinise family’s veterans with Gary, General Brady will provide singular insight into the challenges, resourcefulness and bravery necessary to save lives in the heat of battle.
Gary Sinise is also a talented musician, and his group, the Lt. Dan Band will complete the Warbirds veterans’ tribute with their evening performance on the stage at Boeing Plaza. The Yankee Air Museum’s B-17G Yankee Lady will form a fitting backdrop for this concert and will be open for tours on Warbird Alley.”