The Denig Award, established in 1968, is focused on providing special recognition to a particularly effective individual who has leveraged civilian mass communications’ avenues to promote the professional achievements of individual Marines, while highlighting the contributions of the United States Marine Corps to our country and the world. No single individual has done more in these areas, reaching a broader community, than James Brady.
James Brady commanded a rifle platoon in “Dog” Company, 2d Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment in the Korean War and was later awarded the Bronze Star medal with combat “V.” His weekly columns for Parade magazine, Advertising Age and Forbes.com are considered must-reads by millions and his numerous books (“Why Marines Fight,” “The Scariest Place in the World: A Marine Returns to North Korea,” “The Marine, A Warning of War,” “The Marines of Autumn,” and “The Coldest War”) on the Corps and Marines are best sellers. Brady unhesitatingly uses these “bully pulpits” to introduce and educate his international audience on the United States Marine Corps.
Back before the big bucks, the home in East Hampton, N.Y., the heart attack resulting, in part, from living the good life, back before Jim Brady became a journalist, publisher, editor, writer and columnist for Parade magazine with 85 million readers, he was a “butter bar” Marine second lieutenantundefinedthe Corps is deeply embedded in his soul.
Those who have read Brady’s books know that as a lad he spent the Depression globetrotting in the ships of the Clyde Mallory Line and joined the Corps, as did many young men of privilege back then, to serve the nation in its time of need. He faced the elephant and his own doubts and fearsundefinedfears not so much of the enemy, but of letting down his fellow Marines.
Brady’s experience was not atypical of combat leathernecks. He grew from a schoolboy-looking lad whose idea of being salty was to smoke large stogies, to a seasoned veteran who came to the realization that, “there is nothing more dramatic than having led Marines in combat. If you can get through that and not make mistakes of a nature that get people killed, and you don’t run away, then you are a man.”
Now, on the backside of 70, he’s just as talented and wry as any pen. He has leveraged his experiences as a young Marine officer in 1950 and his international recognition to the benefit of the United States Marine Corpsundefinedtaking every opportunity to lionize Marines and the Corps. A skilled craftsman with an ever-expanding audience, he adroitly employs his writings and speaking engagementsundefinedincluding professional enrichment talks with Marines of all ranks, from The Basic School to Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academiesundefinedto tell the Marine Corps story.
He has had an overwhelmingly positive impact in supporting and promoting the principles, goals and ideals of the United States Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association and is richly deserving of the honor of the Denig Memorial Distinguished Service Award.