November 11th is Veteran’s Day and here at Blue White Scholarship Foundation, we would like to say thank you to all of our veterans and their families for all that they do. We recently received a letter and article from a BWSF donor Bob Biece. This article was written by Ron Devlin and published in the Reading Eagle, Reading, PA February 4, 2013
"My father lived a long life as a result of Pat Brady's bravery," Biese, 69, a retired Spring Township engineer, said during a recent visit to the museum. " Biese told a story of fate, courage and heroism in 1944 on a battleground in France.
Capt. Joseph J. Biese, 25, a New Jersey man who'd earned a battlefield commission, was commander of a tank whose bow gunner was a witty aspiring actor the Army designated Pfc. Robert E. Brady, also known as Pat Brady.
In November 1944, Biese's unit, part of Patton's 10th Armored Division, had approached Metz, a German-held town near the junction of France, Germany and Luxembourg in mid-November 1944. Patton had issued orders to take the historic town, whose architectural treasures include the Basilica of St. Pierre aux Nonnains and the oldest opera house in France.
Biese, ranking officer in the unit, ordered his tank to go through the town first. It did, with no resistance. Then, as Biese opened the hatch to radio an all-clear to Patton's command post, a German sniper lobbed a shell into the tank. The driver and the turret gunner died instantly, and Biese was badly burned in the ensuing explosion. Brady, positioned in the lower front of the tank, escaped uninjured through a forward hatch. Pat Brady carried Biese three miles to the nearest aid station.
The Army awarded Brady a Bronze Star for "courageously assisting in the evacuation of several casualties at Kirchnaumen, France, on Nov. 17, 1944." "My dad said that Pat Brady, who’d starred in more than 100 episodes of the Roy Rodgers show, was a gentleman, a great friend, a good soldier and funnier than hell - very much the person he was on TV," recalled Biese.
Joseph Biese would spend more than four years recuperating in Walter Reed Army Hospital, where he underwent more than 40 major surgeries and countless minor procedures. Despite having lost a leg, the elder Biese went on to a successful career as a mechanical engineer. He was 85 when he died in 2004.
"Many soldiers suffered greatly in World War II," he said. "My Dad spoke of the horror and courage. But not everyone had a hero who'd saved their life at his own peril, and to my father, that was Pat Brady.”
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