Eileen Donovan's Wings of Gold
By John R. Harris and George N. Gitcho

On 27 July 2007, thirty-two Marine and Navy Officers received  their "Wings of Gold" at  the Naval Aviation Training Center, Pensacola, Florida. Among the  newly designated Aviators was  Marine First Lieutenant Eileen Donovan. Her wings were  pinned on by her proud parents Pat and Beba Donovan. The wings  that  she received  were once  worn by  Colonel Eugene  Brady, USMC (Ret).  

Lt. Colonel Brady commanded  the famed Purple Foxes of  HMM-364, flying the  CH-46's  in  Vietnam  during  some  of  that  conflict's  heaviest  combat operations  in 1968-69.  Gene  was awarded  the  Navy Cross for conspicuous gallantry  flying  CH-46's  in  support  of  Marine  ground  operations.   As  a tribute  to  Gene's  leadership, he  is still  revered  by  the  men  he led and  is fondly referred to as “Papa Fox.” Colonel Brady was  recently  inducted  into the elite Pioneer Naval Aviators Association “The Golden Eagles.”
One of Col. Brady's stellar young Purple Foxes Aviators was First Lieutenant Pat Donovan,  Eileen's  father.  For  his heroic flight  endeavors  piloting  the CH-46,  Lieutenant  Donovan  received  two  Navy  Crosses  among his many combat  awards  and left  Vietnam as one of the Marines'  most  highly deco- rated pilots.  Pat is now a prominent Federal Judge in Chicago.
Lieutenant  Eileen Donovan  will begin  her operational  career  on  the  West Coast  being  assigned  to  HMMT-164  for  advanced training  in the  CH-46 helicopter. With HMM-364 being stationed at MCAS Camp Pendleton, there is always the possibility that  she could be assigned to  the Purple  Foxes, who continue  to distinguish  themselves while  flying  the  venerable  and  reliable CH-46. Could the Purple Foxes “handle” another Donovan?

Lt. Donovan with Col. Brady during his Golden Eagle Induction Ceremony on 8 May, 2007

"Swifty" was also in attendance

The Donovan clan at the HT-8 Winging Ceremony on 27 July 2007.
From left: Pat, Sr., Daniel, Eileen, Beba and Pat, Jr.  Two other 
brothers who very much wanted to be present were Brian and Tom.

Joseph P. "Pat" Donovan's History Index

Eugene R. "Papa Fox" Brady's History Index

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