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Sherald Perry Brady
1919-1943

"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on Earth."

Stonewall Jackson

On November 7, 1919, in French Creek, West Virginia, Sherald Perry Brady was born to parents Frank S., a farmer and teamster, and Leota R. Crites Brady. At the time of his birth, he was welcomed into an already large family that, by the time Sherald was 18 years old, contained eleven children overall. Unfortunately, in 1924, tragedy struck the Brady household when Sherald’s older brother, Phillip, passed away at the age of nine. Federal Census records from 1920, 1930, and 1940 show his other siblings to be Lyla M., Leon L., Valda J., Noel F., Kenneth S., Lovere (possibly Luna), Roberta, Maxola, and Velma.

Nineteen hundred forty-one was a very important year in Sherald’s young life. That year, he became a graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School, and not long after that, he took a job in Ohio. His Army enlistment record shows he was engaged in civilian life in a “semiskilled construction occupation.” Still, it was not long before he returned to his home in the mountain state. Following his return, he began working at a filling station in Buckhannon prior to his military service. By late 1941, Sherald had decided to put his life on the line for the American people by enlisting in the U.S. Army. He did so prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Corporal Sherald P. Brady enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 22, 1941, at Huntington, West Virginia, and was sent overseas to England in June 1942. In March 1943, Brady was sent from England to North Africa with the rest of his unit. Brady was a member of the U.S. Army 4th Ranger Battalion during World War II. This unit of the United States Army was a special operations light infantry unit.

At the beginning of the war, this unit served in North Africa under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and, eventually, it also played a big role in Operation Husky—the taking of Sicily—and the start of the U.S. campaign in Italy that lasted from the night of July 9-10, 1943, until August 17. However, the unit was disbanded after World War II. General George S. Patton commanded the unit during the operation, along with Eisenhower, who commanded other units. Brady himself was first stationed in North Africa and then moved to Sicily to take part in Operation Husky as a paratrooper, along with the rest of the 4th Rangers, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and the 82nd Airborne Division.

However, on July 10, 1943, the first day of the campaign in Italy, Brady was killed in action during his drop, or shortly after. Because he perished in Sicily, Sherald has been interred at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy. His headstone is located in Plot 1, Row 4, Grave 13. Years after his patriotic death, Brady was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, a military decoration for those wounded or killed in action.
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery

Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy. Courtesy American Battle Monuments Commission

In 2013, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed Concurrent Resolution No. 18 naming a bridge in honor of Cpl. Brady near his hometown in Volga, West Virginia. Bridge Number 49-4/15-0.93 on County Route 4/15, which had been known as the “French Creek Bridge,” was redesignated as the “Cpl. Sherald P. Brady, U.S. Army Memorial Bridge.” One of Cpl. Brady’s sisters, Valda Ward, participated in the dedication ceremony.

Reporting on July 27, 2013, for a Clarksburg television station, Jeff Schrock had this to say about Brady: “Bridges and highways get named for veterans or citizens of importance in a community. It was the scene Saturday for a veteran who was the twelfth person from Upshur County to give his life in the service during World War II.” Schrock goes on to explain the reaction of one of the Brady sisters: “Lyla Goodnight belongs to a family of five sisters and four brothers, three of them were soldiers. She said this was a blessing to see this recognition of her brother.” Goodnight added, “I just [think] that it’s wonderful that those who have done so much are recognized for what they did, and I think it’s a real blessing to dedicate a little something in his memory.” (Source: Jeff Schrock, WBOY, “Bridge Dedicated to Upshur County World War II Veteran,” 27 July 2013, accessed 7 Aug. 2014, http://www.wboy.com/story/22948564/world-war-ii-veteran-gets-bridge-name.)

Article prepared by Tanner Ballard and another George Washington High School Advanced Placement U.S. History student, Spring 2014

Honor...

Sherald Brady

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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