For Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share with you an article my husband’s Aunt Cathy wrote in honor of her dad David Brady in 2007. Today marks his 91st birthday so Happy Birthday Papa!!! Love you!


David in front of the plane (Witchcraft) he flew in WWII. Front row, far left. 

Sgt. Brady reunites with ‘Witchcraft’ plane

Daughter Catherine Krushell: ‘Happy 87th birthday, Dad’


Last spring, my husband called to let me know the “Witchcraft “was on display at Camarillo Airport. “What’s that?” I asked.

He told me it was a plane flown in World War II and thought I might want to let my dad, David Brady, of Ventura, know. Dad and I have viewed World War II aircraft before, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Boy, was I wrong!

We sped to view the exhibit at the airport. Dad really didn’t want to miss the chance to see the” Witchcraft” one more time. He clenched what looked like some kind of colorful ticket in his hand. He said it was a memento he had kept all these years. It commemorated the 200th mission of the” Witchcraft.” He remembered it like it was yesterday. There was a huge party in England in July 1944. The Glen Miller Band played. Applejack was served to everyone there and they danced all night.

Dad really wanted to be a pilot during the war. Initially, in 1942, while working for Lockheed Aircraft, he applied for cadet school. He had a passion to fly P38s, but he failed the color test. He continued to work at Lockheed and, later that same year, he was called to service. Lockheed tried to get him released, but was unsuccessful.

It seemed the U.S. military was not quite sure what to do with him. First, he went to Fort MacArthur in Los Angeles, then on to March Field in Ontario, Calif. Then he was sent clear across the country to St. Petersburg, Fla., for basic training. He expected to be sent to the South Pacific because he spent a lot of time in the Florida swamps preparing for a tropical environment.

It was decided Dad should be an aircraft mechanic with the background he had at Lockheed. He was sent to Biloxi, Miss. to Kessler Field. That is where he studied B24 aircrafts. He signed up for a summer course to become a flight engineer (he was very determined to fly). They tested him again and he miraculously passed the color test this time! He went on to gunnery school in Harrington, Texas, and then onto Ypsilanti, Mich., (near Detroit) for more flight engineer training. The next post was Fresno and, once again, he was tested and failed the color test, but the major who tested him decided to pass him. He said that since nine of the crewmembers were not colorblind, he figured they could help out when necessary. So, Dad was assigned to work with pilot Barnham who was was 6 feet tall with big feet and a lot of ambition.

The real training began at Tonopah, Nev. It was there crewmembers actually flew B24s. There were plenty of casualties. Ten planes crashed and all 10 crews on board these planes were killed. There were a lot of strong winds that blew sand into the engines of the planes and caused mechanical failures.

Dad was finally sent to Hamilton Airbase north of San Francisco. From there, he expected to be shipped out to the Pacific Theater. But, while he was stationed at Hamilton, there was a need to replace the 8th Air Force. He was assigned to the European Theater instead. He was nearly assigned to the 492nd group. This was a guaranteed death sentence. This group had enraged the Germans by shooting a German pilot as he escaped his destroyed aircraft. German forces continually targeted the 492nd group. Because of the heavy losses experienced by this group, the decision was made to close out the 492nd group. They did need replacements for the 467th group, so that’s where they sent Dad.

Dad was a flight engineer and managed the top turret gun. He and his crew flew 35 combat missions and volunteered three milk runs to Gen. George Patton’s men. After he completed these missions, he volunteered to stay on as an instructor. On an exercise returning to England, his aircraft was nearly destroyed by friendly fire. Fortunately, the pilot was able to successfully land the plane and there were no casualties. But, Dad was convinced it was time to quit while he was ahead.

Oh, two of those 35 flights were on the “Witchcraft.”

As you can see Veterans Day is special to Dad and me. It is also his birthday! I want to wish him a very happy 87th birthday! And, I want to thank him, and every brave American man and woman who have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, for this great country of ours.

— Catherine Krushell 


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