Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Butch's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

BradySm.jpg Captain Francis T. Brady, Jr., United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died of cancer on September 15, 2004 in Dallas, TX. He was buried at the Academy Cemetery on September 23, 2004.

Our good friend, classmate, and lifelong pilot Butch Brady made his last flight west early on a September morning in 2004. His cancer made the last months difficult, but he had a lot to say in the planning of the final celebration of his life.

He was born into an Air Force family in 1942, while his father was flying B-17s in the South Pacific. He grew up on various military installations, and in 1960 graduated from Kubasaki High School at Kadena AFB, Okinawa with a presidential appointment to USAFA.

At USAFA, Butch was a member of 17th Squadron, and is remembered as a gentle and private person who always cared more about others than himself. During our Doolie days he was a bright light to cheer us up, especially when he'd pull out his guitar and strike up a tune. He worked hard to meet the challenges presented by cadet life, competed aggressively on the intramural fields, and was very supportive of his friends.

Graduation led to pilot training at Webb AFB, TX and an assignment to C-130s at Sewart AFB, TN. With half a dozen of his USAFA bachelor classmates also stationed at Nashville, he had a ball. Riding his Triumph motorcycle, he was particularly patient with Hugh Smith and Tom Rauk as they learned to keep up with him on their BSAs. Newly married in 1968, he qualified in the F-100 and then spent a year flying 217 combat missions from Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam. In the summer of 1969, he bailed out in enemy territory 30 miles west of Cam Rahn Bay but was rescued the same day by an army Huey helicopter. This tour was followed by a three year assignment in F-100s at Lakenheath before departing the Air Force on 7 December 1972. His decorations include 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 11 Air Medals, among others.

Hired by Delta Airlines in 1973, he moved to Atlanta and spent 15 years flying DC-8s, 727s, and L-1011s. 1n1988, he became a 727 Captain and moved to the Dallas area. His first flight as a Captain was the direct flight from DFW to Colorado Springs on Aug. 2, 1988. It was very special for him. He continued to fly 727s until he became medically disabled in 1998.

Divorced and subsequently remarried, his new family included Patrick Ellis, a 1988 USAFA graduate, and eventually two granddaughters. He was very happy in his role as Step-Dad and Step-Grandpa. His community involvement included many years as a volunteer, board member, and president of several homeowner associations. He was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Airline Pilots Association, and belonged to the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association, the Texas State Rifle Association, and the National Rifle Association.

Butch carefully planned the visitation and the wake that followed his death. He wanted it to be a celebration that his friends would enjoy. Butch was dressed as he requested. ready to do battle in the next life, party flight suit, USAFA sabre in hand, and a lock of hair from his sister's favorite horse, ready to be transformed into a trusty steed. He wanted his sunglasses on but the funeral home thought the locals might be offended. That was corrected at the Academy before his burial. The wake had music, food. and plenty of fine Irish whiskey. The event was well attended by bikers, pilots, family, and friends. He received numerous honoring speeches. Always the chivalrous knight, at Butch's request every woman was handed a yellow rose to take home.

The funeral was held at the Cadet Chapel, attended by family and a number of friends and classmates. It was a fine and fitting Catholic service with a military honor guard escorting the casket. The internment ceremony at the cemetery was breathtaking. It was a crisp fall day and the sky was clear and blue, as it can only be in Colorado. Military Honor Guards carried his flag-draped coffin. Then they fired a 21-gun salute and presented the spent cartridges with the flag to his wife. After dismissal, Jim Wallace led a few of us in throwing nickels on the grass, with the nodding approval and understanding of the chaplain.

(By his classmates and stepson Patrick Ellis, '88, Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, April 2005)
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