The following day, a Saturday, he and Ellen were married. They returned to Northern Virginia on Sunday, packed up their car, and on Monday began their “honeymoon” — a 2,770-mile to Camp Pendleton on the Southern California coast.
“I told him, ‘We will go on a real honeymoon, right?’” Ellen says. “And we went to Tahiti a year later.”
Brady was on his first deployment in the Arabian Gulf when the USS Cole was attacked on Oct. 12, 2000. Within six hours, Lieutenant Brady, his personal weapon loaded with live ammunition and leading a platoon of Marines, was in a helicopter flying to secure a refueling ship as it pulled into port.
He was reunited with Ellen when his six-month deployment ended on Valentine’s Day 2001.
Then came Rota, Spain, where their first daughter, Eve, was born. But if you want a true military family story, that would be Lilly’s birth four years later. Tim was in Iraq, Ellen and Eve in Wilmington, North Carolina. He watched Lilly come into the world via Skype.
“Our Christmas card that year was of Ellen in the hospital bed holding Lilly with 4-year-old Eve behind her and my picture on the computer screen,” Brady says. “It was pretty funny.”
Next came the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he was a company officer. Laycock wrote his letter of recommendation. Brady earned his first of three master’s degrees as part of the leadership education development program at the University of Maryland.
After two years, he moved on to the Headquarters Marine Corps at the Pentagon. Then came Okinawa, Japan, Hawaii and, as Brady puts it, “all over the Pacific.”
Back stateside, Brady graduated from the prestigious National Defense University, National War College in 2018. He then worked in current operations for the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
“There was always something going in the globe,” he says.
Then came the eye-popper: In 2019, Rear Adm. George Wikoff nominated Brady to be deputy executive assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“He said, ‘Go home and talk to Ellen about it because this is a job that is going to tax you day in and day out,’” Brady recalls.
Brady was hired by the incoming chairman, Gen. Mark Milley. He became one member in a small group of Milley’s inner circle.
“It was an incredible experience and a fascinating year,” Brady says. “It was also very demanding.”
He then worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon for a year. Then, on June 25, 2021, he was named Commanding Officer 3rd Marine Regiment, which he says is the greatest accomplishment of his career.
“As an infantry officer, I’m coming back to an infantry regiment,” says Brady, who is now based in Hawaii. “But this infantry regiment is re-designating to a first-of-its-kind Marine Littoral Regiment as part of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030.
“It’s about keeping up with and maintaining overmatch of our pacing threats. The Marine Corps has always been one to not train and equip for the war we fought last but to prepare ourselves for the next war we may fight in the future.”
Nearly a quarter of a century after graduation, Tim and Ellen Brady — though 5,000 miles and six time zones from Williamsburg — remain Green and Gold.
It’s where they met and fell in love. It’s where they were collegiate athletes and earned their degrees from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. And it’s where their shared path was paved.
“We absolutely love William & Mary,” Tim Brady says. “We found each other there. And what the college provided for us, both in terms of education and the intangibles, has served us well throughout life.”