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Omar Bradley

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Omar Bradley

General of the Army
Omar Bradley
Birth name Omar Nelson Bradley
Nickname(s) "Brad", "The G.I.‍ '​s General"
Born (1893-02-12)February 12, 1893
Randolph County, Missouri, U.S.
Died April 8, 1981(1981-04-08) (aged 88)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1915–1981[1]
Rank General of the Army
Commands held Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War

Complete list
Signature Signature,

Omar Nelson Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981), nicknamed Brad, was a senior officer of the United States Army who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Western Europe during World War II, and later became General of the Army. From the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944 through to the end of the war in Europe, Bradley had command of all U.S. ground forces invading Germany from the west; he ultimately commanded forty-three divisions and 1.3 million men, the largest body of American soldiers ever to serve under a single U.S. field commander. After the war, Bradley headed the Veterans Administration and became U.S. Army Chief of Staff. In 1949, Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the following year oversaw the policy-making for the Korean War, before retiring from active service in 1953.

Bradley was the last of only nine people to hold a five-star rank in the United States Armed Forces.


  • Early life and education 1
  • U.S. Army 2
  • Louisiana Maneuvers 3
  • World War II 4
    • Normandy 1944 4.1
    • Falaise Pocket 4.2
    • Germany 4.3
    • Battle of the Bulge 4.4
    • Victory 4.5
    • Command style 4.6
  • Post-war 5
    • Veterans Administration 5.1
    • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 5.2
    • Korean War 5.3
  • Retirement 6
  • Recognition 7
  • Summary of service 8
    • Dates of rank 8.1
    • Orders, decorations and medals 8.2
      • United States 8.2.1
      • Foreign 8.2.2
    • Assignment history 8.3
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Early life and education

Bradley, the son of schoolteacher John Smith Bradley (1868–1908) and Mary Elizabeth Hubbard (1875–1931), was born into poverty in rural Randolph County, near Clark, Missouri. Bradley was named after Omar D. Gray, a local newspaper editor admired by his father, and a local doctor called Nelson.[2] He was of British ancestry, his ancestors having migrated from Great Britain to Kentucky in the mid-1700s.[3] He attended country schools where his father taught. When Omar was 15 his father, with whom he credited passing on to him a love of books, baseball and shooting, died. His mother moved to Moberly and remarried. Bradley graduated from Moberly High School in 1910, an outstanding student and captain of both the baseball and football teams.

Bradley at West Point

Bradley was working as a boiler maker at the Wabash Railroad when he was encouraged by his Sunday school teacher at Central Christian Church in Moberly to take the entrance examination for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Bradley had been planning on saving his money to enter the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he intended to study law. He finished second in the West Point placement exams at Jefferson Barracks Military Post in St. Louis. The first place winner was unable to accept the Congressional appointment, and so Bradley took his place. While at the academy, Bradley's devotion to sports prevented him from excelling academically. He was a baseball star, and often played on semi-pro teams for no remuneration (to ensure his eligibility to represent the academy). He was considered one of the most outstanding college players in the nation during his junior and senior seasons at West Point, noted as both a power hitter and an outfielder with one of the best arms in his day.

While stationed at West Point as an instructor, Bradley became a Freemason in 1923, becoming a member of the West Point Lodge #877, Highland Falls, New York until his death.[4]

Bradley's first wife, Mary Quayle, grew up across the street from him in Moberly. The pair attended Central Christian Church and Moberly High School together. Moberly called Bradley its favorite son and throughout his life Bradley called Moberly his hometown and his favorite city in the world. He was a frequent visitor to Moberly throughout his career, was a member of the Moberly Rotary Club, played near handicap golf regularly at the local course and had a "Bradley pew" at Central Christian Church. When a flag project opened in 2009 in the Moberly cemetery, General Bradley and his first son-in-law and West Point graduate, the late Major Henry Shaw Bukema, were memorialized with flags in their honor from grateful citizens.

U.S. Army

At West Point, Bradley played three years of varsity baseball including on the 1914 team, from which every player who remained in the army ultimately became a general. He graduated from West Point in 1915 as part of a class that contained many future generals, and which military historians have called "the class the stars fell on". There were ultimately 59 generals in that graduating class, among whom Bradley and Dwight D. Eisenhower attained the rank of General of the Army.

Bradley was commissioned into the infantry and was first assigned to the 14th Infantry Regiment. He served on the Mexico–United States border in 1915. When war was declared, he was promoted to captain and sent to guard the Butte, Montana copper mines.

Bradley joined the 19th Infantry Division in August 1918, which was scheduled for European deployment, but the influenza pandemic and the armistice intervened.

Between the wars, he taught and studied. From 1920–24, he taught mathematics at West Point. He was promoted to brigadier general (bypassing the rank of colonel)[6] (this rank was made permanent in September, 1943). The temporary rank was conferred to allow him to command the Infantry School at Fort Benning (he was the first from his class to become even a temporary general officer). In February 1942, he was made a temporary major general (a rank made permanent in September 1944) and took command of the 82nd Infantry Division before succeeding James Garesche Ord as commander of the 28th Infantry Division in June.

Louisiana Maneuvers

The Louisiana Maneuvers were a series of U.S. Army exercises held around Northern and Western-Central Louisiana, including Fort Polk, Camp Claiborne and Camp Livingston, in 1940 and 1941. The exercises, which involved some 400,000 troops, were designed to evaluate U.S. training, logistics, doctrine, and commanders. Overall headquarters were in the Bentley Hotel in Alexandria.

Many Army officers present at the maneuvers later rose to very senior roles in World War II, including Bradley, George Patton.

Lt. Colonel Bradley was assigned to General Headquarters during the Louisiana Maneuvers but as a courier and observer in the field, he gained invaluable experience for the future. Colonel Bradley assisted in the planning of the maneuvers, and kept the General Staff in Washington, D.C. abreast of the training that was occurring during the Louisiana Maneuvers.

Bradley later said that Louisianans welcomed the soldiers with open arms. Some soldiers even slept in some of the residents' houses. Bradley said it was so crowded in those houses sometimes when the soldiers were sleeping, there would hardly be any walking room. Bradley also said a few of the troops were disrespectful towards the residents' land and crops, and would tear down crops for extra food. However, for the most part, residents and soldiers established good relations.[7]

World War II

Bradley's personal experiences in the war are documented in his award winning book A Soldier's Story, published by Henry Holt & Co. in 1951. It was later re-released by The Modern Library in 1999. The book is based on an extensive diary maintained by his aide de camp, Chester B. Hansen, who ghost wrote the book using that diary. Hansen's diary is maintained by the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks, PA.[8]

On March 25, 1942 Bradley, recently promoted to major general, assumed command of the newly activated 82nd Infantry Division. Bradley oversaw the division's transformation into the first American airborne division and took parachute training. In August the division was re-designated as the 82nd Airborne Division and Bradley relinquished command to Major General Matthew B. Ridgeway.

Bradley then took command of the 28th Infantry Division which was a National Guard division with soldiers mostly from the state of Pennsylvania.

Bradley did not receive a front-line command until early 1943, after

Military offices
Preceded by
George Grunert
Commanding General of the First United States Army
Succeeded by
Courtney Hodges
Preceded by
Dwight Eisenhower
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
J. Lawton Collins
Preceded by
Adm. William D. Leahy
as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Succeeded by
Adm. Arthur W. Radford
Preceded by
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
Succeeded by
Etienne Baele
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Billy Graham
Sylvanus Thayer Award recipient
Succeeded by
Robert Daniel Murphy
  • The short film Big Picture: The Omar N. Bradley Story is available for free download at the Internet Archive
  • Omar Nelson Bradley, General of the Army – Arlington National Cemetery profile.
  • The American Presidency Project
  • "Omar Bradley".  
  • Chester B. Hansen Collection – Hansen was the aide of GEN (and GOA) Bradley during and after World War II. US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

External links

  • Omar Nelson Bradley, The Centennial.  

Further reading

  • Blair, Clay (2003). The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950–1953. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-075-7, ISBN 978-1-59114-075-7.
  • Blumenson, Martin (1990). General Bradley's Decision at Argentan (13 August 1944). University of Michigan Library Press.
  • Blumenson, Martin (1993). The Battle of the Generals: The Untold Story of the Falaise Pocket, The Campaign That Should Have Won World War II. William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0688118372.
  • Bradley, Omar N. and Blair, Clay (1983). A General's Life: An Autobiography. p. 752. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-41023-0.
  • Bradley, Omar N. (1951). A Soldier's Story. New York: Holt Publishing Co. ISBN 0-375-75421-0.
  • Cowley, Robert; Parker, Geoffrey (1996). The Reader's Companion to Military History. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 9780395669693.
  • D'Este, Carlo (1995). Patton: A Genius for War. Harper Perennial. ISBN 9780060927622.
  • Jordan, Jonathan W. (2011). Brothers Rivals Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe. NAL. ISBN 9780451232120.
  • MacLean, Colonel French L. The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2013, ISBN 9780764345777.
  • Weigley, Russell F. (1981). Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany 1944–1945. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-20608-1.
  • Whiting, Charles (2000). The Battle of Hurtgen Forest. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 1-58097-055-9.


  1. ^ U.S. officers holding five-star rank never retire; they draw full active duty pay for life.Spencer C. Tucker (2011). "Appendix B: Military Ranks". The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 1685.  
  2. ^ Axelrod, p.7
  3. ^ Five Stars: Missouri’s Most Famous Generals By James Muench page 104
  4. ^ "Famous Masons". MWGLNY. January 2014. 
  5. ^ The Reader's Companion to Military History. 
  6. ^ Hollister, Jay. "General Omar Nelson Bradley". University of San Diego History Department. May 3, 2001. Retrieved on May 14, 2007.
  7. ^ Bradley, Omar N.:Omar N. Bradley: A Soldier's Story, 1951
  8. ^ A Soldier's Story, xxv.
  9. ^ Weigley, p.81
  10. ^ James Jay Carafano, After D-Day: Operation Cobra and the Normandy Breakout (2000); Cole C. Kingseed, "Operation Cobra: Prelude to breakout." Military Review; July 1994, Vol. 74 Issue 7, p64-67, online at EBSCO.
  11. ^ Omar Bradley, A general's life: an autobiography (1983) p. 280
  12. ^ Blumenson, Martin, General Bradley's decision at Argentan (13 August 1944), University of Michigan Press (1990), pp. 407–413
  13. ^ Essame, Herbert, Patton: As Military Commander, Combined Publishing, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-938289-99-3 (1998), p. 168
  14. ^ Essame, Herbert, Patton: As Military Commander, p. 168: Bradley was supported in his decision by General Eisenhower.
  15. ^ a b c d Essame, Herbert, Patton: As Military Commander, p. 182
  16. ^ Blumenson, Martin, General Bradley's decision at Argentan (13 August 1944), University of Michigan Press (1990), pp. 416–417: Blumenson concluded that while the failure to quickly complete the encirclement was mainly due to Bradley's actions in halting XV Corps, the result was still a victory, since the German armies that escaped had almost no equipment, tanks, or other weapons.
  17. ^ Wilmot, Chester, and McDevitt, Christopher, The Struggle For Europe, London: Wordsworth Editions Ltd., ISBN 1-85326-677-9 (1952), p. 417
  18. ^ Essame, Herbert, Patton: As Military Commander, Combined Publishing, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-938289-99-3 (1998), p. 182: German General Hans Speidel, Chief of Staff of Army Group B, stated that all of Army Group B would have been completely eliminated if Patton's 5th Armored Division had been allowed to advance, sealing off German exit avenues.
  19. ^ Blumenson, Martin, General Bradley's decision at Argentan (13 August 1944), University of Michigan Press (1990), pp. 410–411
  20. ^ Blumenson, Martin, General Bradley's decision at Argentan (13 August 1944), University of Michigan Press (1990), p. 412
  21. ^ Jarymowycz, Roman, Tank Tactics; from Normandy to Lorraine, Lynne Rienner, ISBN 1-55587-950-0 (2001), p. 196
  22. ^ Whiting, Charles, The battle of Hurtgen Forest, p. 69
  23. ^ Whiting, Charles, The battle of Hurten Forest, p. 44
  24. ^ Whiting, Charles, The battle of Hurten Forest, p. 44: None of the senior commanders appear to have considered the potential danger to U.S. forces if the Germans released large amounts of water from the Roer dams, flooding the area and channeling U.S. forces into zones heavily defended by the German army.
  25. ^ a b D'Este, Carlo, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, p. 627
  26. ^ Ambrose, Stephen, Eisenhower, soldier and president, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-671-70107-9 (1990), p. 174.
  27. ^ a b Ambrose, Stephen, Eisenhower, soldier and president, p. 174.
  28. ^ D'Este, Carlo, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, p.668
  29. ^ Jordan, Jonathan W., Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership that drove the Allied Conquest in Europe , New York: Penguin Group, ISBN 9781101475249(2011)
  30. ^ Patton, G.S. and Blumenson, M., The Patton Papers, 1940–1945, Cambridge MA: Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80717-3 (1974) p. 655
  31. ^ D'Este, Carlo, Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, New York: Henry Holt & Co. (2002), p. 404
  32. ^ Nichols, David, Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, New York: Simon & Schuster Inc. (1986), p. 358
  33. ^ Marshall, S.L.A., Great Georgie Redone, The Charleston Gazette, Vol. 4, 21 March 1970, p. 4: "My own view of him [Patton] was that he was touched by the sun, as were Orde Wingate and Stonewall Jackson."
  34. ^ D'Este, Carlo. Patton: A Genius For War, New York: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-016455-7 (1995), p. 467
  35. ^ Lewis, Adrian R., Omaha Beach, A Flawed Victory, University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-5469-7 (2001), p. 263
  36. ^ Hamilton, Nigel, Master of the Battlefield: Monty's Wary Years, 1942–1944, New York: McGraw-Hill (1983), p. 658
  37. ^ D'Este, Carlo, Patton, p. 467-468: Patton recorded that Bradley was "too prone to cut off heads. This will make division commanders lose their confidence."
  38. ^ D'Este, Carlo, p. 467
  39. ^ Colonel French L. Maclean, The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2013) ISBN 9780764345777.
  40. ^ Anderson, Jr., Richard (December 16, 2009). "Appendix B, A Footnote to History: The ``Offer of A.V.R.E's to the U.S. Army". Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: The 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stakpole Books.  
  41. ^ Wilmot, Chester. The Struggle for Europe. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky and Konecky.  
  42. ^ Brig. Sir Edwin Ottway Herbert, US Requirements for British Devices- OVERLORD, 16 February 1944
  43. ^ Anderson, Jr., Richard (December 16, 2009). "Appendix C, The Funnies and Omaha Beach". Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: The 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stakpole Books.  
  44. ^ Dunford, J.F. (Lt. Col.) The Strategic Implications of Defensive Operations at the Pusan Perimeter July–September 1950, Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College (7 April 1999) p. 6
  45. ^ Bradley, Omar, and Blair, Clay, A General's Life: An AutoBiography by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, p. 474
  46. ^ a b Blair, Clay, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950–1953, Naval Institute Press (2003), p. 290
  47. ^ a b Hofmann, George F., Tanks and the Korean War: A case study of unpreparedness, Armor, Vol. 109 Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2000), pp. 7–12
  48. ^ Bradley, Omar, and Blair, Clay, A General's Life: An AutoBiography by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, pp. 486–487
  49. ^ Davis, Vincent, The Post-imperial Presidency, New Brunswick: Transaction Press ISBN 0-87855-747-4 (1980), p. 102
  50. ^ Axlerod, Alan, Bradley, New York:Palgrave MacMillan, ISBN 978-0-230-60018-8 (2008), p. 174
  51. ^ Blechman, Barry M., The American military in the twenty-first century, Henry L. Stimson Center, New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-10369-9 (1993), p. 14
  52. ^ Bradley, Omar, and Blair, Clay, A General's Life: An AutoBiography by General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, p. 487
  53. ^ Testimony by Army Chief of Staff Omar N. Bradley before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 25 March 1948, Army Digest 3, No. 5 (May 1948), pp. 61–63
  54. ^ "GENERAL OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND GENERAL OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES". Retrieved 2009-09-28. General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, appointed Sep 22, 50. Deceased Apr 81. (General Bradley appointed pursuant to PL 957, on Sep 18, 1950.) 
  55. ^ Blair, Clay, The Forgotten War: America in Korea, 1950–1953, Naval Institute Press (2003), p. 290
  56. ^ Hofmann, George F., Tanks and the Korean War: A case study of unpreparedness, Armor, Vol. 109 Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2000), pp. 7–12: In 1948, the U.S. Army had to impose an 80 percent reduction in equipment requirements, deferring any equipment modernization. When the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted a $30 billion total defense budget for FY 1948, the administration capped the DOD budget at the $14.4 billion set in 1947 and progressively reduced in succeeding fiscal years until January 1950, when it was reduced again to $13.5 billion.
  57. ^ Dunford, J.F. (Lt. Col.) The Strategic Implications of Defensive Operations at the Pusan Perimeter July–September 1950, Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College (7 April 1999) pp. 6–8, 12
  58. ^ Zabecki, David T., Stand or Die – 1950 Defense of Korea's Pusan Perimeter, Military History (May 2009): The inability of U.S. forces to stop the 1950 North Korean summer offensive cost the Eighth Army 4,280 killed in action, 12,377 wounded, 2,107 missing and 401 confirmed captured between July 5 and September 16, 1950, in addition to the lives of tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers and civilians.
  59. ^ Lewis, Adrian R., The American culture of war, New York: Taylor & Francis Group, ISBN 978-0-415-97975-7 (2007), p. 82
  60. ^ MacArthur actually held several titles: he was the Allied Commander of United Nations Forces in the Far East, Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan, and Commander, U.S. Army Forces Far East (USAFFE)
  61. ^ (p. 62)
  62. ^ "The History of Bulova".  
  63. ^ A Soldier’s Story, pg v.
  64. ^ Vandiver, Frank Everson (1997). Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's wars. p. 327 online. 
  65. ^ a b Marshall, S.L.A. (21 March 1970). "Great Georgie Redone". The Charleston Gazette 4. p. 4. 
  66. ^ Bradley, Omar N. A Soldier's Story. p. 109. 
  67. ^ D'Este, Carlo (1995). Patton: A Genius For War. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 466–467.  
  68. ^ D'Este, Carlo (2002). Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life. New York: Henry Holt & Co. pp. 403–404. 
  69. ^ "Statement of Ronald Reagan in memory of Omar Bradley". 9 April 1981. 
  70. ^ "Omar Nelson Bradley, General of the Army". 
  71. ^ Bradley, Omar; Clay Blair. A General's Life.  
  72. ^ Omar Bradley (1948-11-11). "Quotation 8126". The Columbia World of Quotations. Copyright © 1996. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 2008-06-25. The Columbia World of Quotations. 1996. NUMBER: 8126 QUOTATION: We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.... The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. ATTRIBUTION: Omar Bradley (1893–1981), U.S. general. speech, November 11, 1948, Armistice Day. Collected Writings, vol. 1 (1967). 
  73. ^ "Distinguished Soldiers". United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 16, 2007.
  74. ^ Register of the Army of the United States for 1946. United States Government Printing Office Washington: U.S. Secretary of War. 1946. p. VIX. 
  75. ^ DeFelice, Jim (2011). Omar Bradley: General at War. Washington, DC: Regnery History. pp. 184–185.  
  76. ^ Marshall, George (September 1, 1943). "4-094 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 1, 1943". The George C. Marshall Foundation Research Library Online Catalog Search. George C. Marshall Foundation. Retrieved October 19, 2015. Footnote 5: Eisenhower replied by letter on September 6 with praise for the men Marshall named, but he suggested that the order of promotion priority to Regular Army brigadier general be: McNarney, Bradley, Handy, Smith, Spaatz, Kenney, Eichelberger, Harmon, and Eaker. 
  77. ^ Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States 86. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. 1944. p. 249. 


  • 1944: Commanding General, First Army (Later 1st and 12th U.S. Army Groups)
  • 1945: Administrator of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Administration
  • 1948: United States Army Chief of Staff
  • 1949: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • 1953: Retired from active service
  • 1911: Cadet, United States Military Academy
  • 1915: 14th Infantry Regiment
  • 1919: ROTC professor, South Dakota State College
  • 1920: Instructor, United States Military Academy (West Point)
  • 1924: Infantry School Student, Fort Benning, Georgia
  • 1925: Commanding Officer, 19th and 27th Infantry Regiments
  • 1927: Office of National Guard and Reserve Affairs, Hawaiian Department
  • 1928: Student, Command and General Staff School
  • 1929: Instructor, Fort Benning, Infantry School
  • 1934: Plans and Training Office, USMA West Point
  • 1938: War Department General Staff, G-1 Chief of Operations Branch and Assistant Secretary of the General Staff
  • 1941: Commandant, Infantry School Fort Benning
  • 1942: Commanding General, 82nd Infantry Division and 28th Infantry Division
  • 1943: Commanding General, II Corps, North Africa and Sicily
  • 1943: Commanding General, Field Forces European Theater
Omar Bradley, General of the Army

Assignment history

British Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
United Kingdom
Order of Kutuzov (1st class)
Order of Suvorov (1st class)
Russia / Soviet Union
Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta
Luxembourg War Cross
French Croix de guerre with palm


Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal (With three oak leaf clusters)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (w/oak leaf cluster)
Bronze Star Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Mexican Border Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver and three campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal with Germany clasp
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal

United States

Orders, decorations and medals

Note** - Bradley's effective date for permanent Brigadier General in the Regular Army is earlier than his effective date of promotion for permanent Colonel. While serving as a temporary lieutenant general in early 1943, Bradley was notified that he would be promoted to permanent colonel with an effective date of October 1, 1943. At the time, promotions to permanent brigadier and major general had been withheld for more than two years, except for Delos C. Emmons, Henry H. Arnold, and Eisenhower. President Roosevelt lifted the moratorium before Bradley's effective date for promotion to permanent colonel. In determining whom to promote after the lifting of Roosevelt's moratorium, Marshall consulted with Eisenhower, and then arranged the effective dates of promotion to brigadier general based on where he wanted each individual to rank in terms of seniority. Bradley was the second to be promoted to permanent brigadier general -- after Joseph T. McNarney and before Thomas T. Handy. Bradley's date of rank for permanent brigadier general was set as September 1, 1943 -- before his effective date for promotion to colonel -- based on where Eisenhower and Marshall wanted him to fall in terms of seniority. The effective postdated date of rank for his promotion to permanent brigadier general thus came before the effective postdated date of rank for his promotion to colonel.[75][76][77] (For additional details, see the March and April 2015 discussion under the heading "Error?" in the talk page for this article.)

Note* – Discharged as Major and appointed Captain November 4, 1922; acts June 30, 1922 and September 14, 1922[74]

No insignia Cadet, United States Military Academy: August 1, 1911
No pin insignia in 1915 Second Lieutenant, United States Army: June 12, 1915
First Lieutenant, United States Army: July 1, 1916
Captain, United States Army: May 15, 1917
Temporary Major, National Army: June 17, 1918 to January 22, 1920
Major, National Army: July 1, 1920
Captain, Regular Army (reverted to permanent rank*): November 4, 1922
Major, Regular Army: June 25, 1924
Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: July 26, 1936
Brigadier General, Army of the United States: February 24, 1941
Major General, Army of the United States: February 15, 1942
Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: June 2, 1943
Colonel, Regular Army: October 1, 1943**
Brigadier General, Regular Army: September 1, 1943**
Major General, Regular Army: September 8, 1944
General, Army of the United States: March 12, 1945
General, Regular Army: January 31, 1949
General of the Army, Regular Army: September 22, 1950

Source – Register of the Army of the United States for 1946, United States Government Printing Office Washington: U.S. Secretary of War. 1946. p. 76

Dates of rank

Summary of service

On May 5, 2000, the United States Postal Service issued a series of Distinguished Soldiers stamps in which Bradley was honored.[73]

Bradley's hometown, Moberly, Missouri, is planning a library and museum in his honor. Two recent Bradley Leadership Symposia in Moberly have honored his role as one of the American military's foremost teachers of young officers. On February 12, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Missouri Senate, the Missouri House, the County of Randolph and the City of Moberly all recognized Bradley's birthday as General Omar Nelson Bradley Day. The ceremony marking the day was held at his high school alma mater and featured addresses by the current Congressional representative, Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Moberly High School Principal Aaron Vitt.

The U.S. Army's M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle and M3 Bradley cavalry fighting vehicle are named after General Bradley.

Bradley is known for saying, "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living."[72]

Bradley's posthumous autobiography, A General's Life, was published in 1983. The book was begun by Bradley himself, who found writing difficult, and so Clay Blair was brought in to help shape the autobiography; after Bradley's death, Blair continued the writing, making the unusual choice of using Bradley's first-person voice. The resulting book is highly readable, and based on extremely thorough research, including extensive interviews with all concerned, and Bradley's own papers.[71]


Omar Bradley died on 8 April 1981 in New York City of a cardiac arrhythmia, just a few minutes after receiving an award from the National Institute of Social Sciences. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, next to his two wives.[70]

General Bradley's headstone in Arlington Cemetery

One of Bradley's last public appearances was as the guest of honor at the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan on January 20, 1981.[69]

Bradley spent his last years in Texas at a special residence on the grounds of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, part of the complex which supports Fort Bliss.

Bradley was the keynote speaker at Point du Hoc, Normandy, France on June 6, 1979 for the 35th anniversary of D-Day where in a wheelchair he performed an open ranks inspection of the US representative army unit, the 84th Army Band from VII Corps HQ, Stuttgart, West Germany.

On 10 January 1977, Bradley was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford.

Bradley attended the 30th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy, France on June 6, 1974, participating in various parades.

In 1971 Bradley was the subject of an episode of the TV show This is Your Life.

In 1970, Bradley served as a consultant for the film Patton, though the extent of his participation is largely unknown. Screenwriters Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North wrote most of the film based on two biographies, Bradley's A Soldier's Story and Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago. As the film was made without access to General Patton's diaries or any information from his family, it largely relied upon observations by Bradley and other military contemporaries when attempting to reconstruct Patton's thoughts and motives.[65] In a review of the film Patton, S.L.A. Marshall, who knew both Patton and Bradley, stated that "The Bradley name gets heavy billing on a picture of [a] comrade that, while not caricature, is the likeness of a victorious, glory-seeking buffoon...Patton in the flesh was an enigma. He so stays in the film...Napoleon once said that the art of the general is not strategy but knowing how to mold human nature...Maybe that is all producer Frank McCarthy and Gen. Bradley, his chief advisor, are trying to say."[65] While Bradley knew Patton personally, it was also well known that the two men were polar opposites in personality, and that Bradley despised Patton both personally and professionally, though in the film they're portrayed as close friends.[66][67][68] Bradley's role in the film remains controversial to this day.

Bradley also served as a member of President Lyndon Johnson's Wise Men, a high-level advisory group considering policy for the Vietnam War in 1967–68. Bradley was a hawk and recommended against withdrawal from Vietnam.[64]

As a horse racing fan, Bradley spent much of his leisure time at racetracks in California and often presented the winners trophies. He also was a lifetime sports fan, especially of college football. He was the 1948 Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses and attended several subsequent Rose Bowl games (his black limousine with personalized CA license plate "ONB" and a red plate with 5 gold stars was frequently seen driving through Pasadena streets with a police motorcycle escort to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day), and was prominent at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana in later years.

On 1 December 1965, Bradley's wife, Mary, died of leukemia. He met Esther Dora "Kitty" Buhler and married her on September 12, 1966; they were married until his death.

His memoirs, A Soldier's Story (ghostwritten by aide de camp Chester B. Hansen who kept a day by day diary during the war[63]), appeared in 1951; a fuller autobiography A General's Life: An Autobiography (coauthored by Clay Blair) appeared in 1983. He took the opportunity to attack Field Marshal Montgomery's 1945 claims to have won the Battle of the Bulge.

In retirement, Bradley held a number of positions in commercial life including Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Watch Company from 1958 to 1973.[62]

Bradley left active duty military service in August 1953. However, he chaired the Commission on Veterans' Pensions, commonly known as the "Bradley Commission", in 1955–1956. In January 1956, Bradley became one of the founding members of the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities later the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.[61]

Portrait of Bradley


In his testimony to the U.S. Congress, Bradley strongly rebuked MacArthur for his support of victory at all costs in the Korean War. Soon after Truman relieved MacArthur of command in April 1951, Bradley said in Congressional testimony, "Red China is not the powerful nation seeking to dominate the world. Frankly, in the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this strategy would involve us in the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy."

Bradley was the chief military policy maker during the Korean War, and supported Truman's original plan of 'rolling back' Communist aggression by conquering all of North Korea. When Chinese Communists entered North Korea in late 1950 and again drove back American forces, Bradley agreed that rollback had to be dropped in favor of a strategy of containment of North Korea. The containment strategy was subsequently adopted by the Truman administration for North Korea, and applied to communist expansion worldwide. Never an admirer of General Douglas MacArthur, Bradley was instrumental in convincing Truman to dismiss MacArthur as the overall commander in the Korean theatre[60] after MacArthur resisted administration attempts to scale back strategic objectives in the Korean War.

[59] stated that "Many who never lived to tell the tale had to fight the full range of ground warfare from offensive to delaying action, unit by unit, man by man...[T]hat we were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat...does not relieve us from the blame of having placed our own flesh and blood in such a predicament."Floyd L. Parks In a postwar analysis of the unpreparedness of U.S. Army forces deployed to Korea during the summer and fall of 1950, Army Major General [58][57] in a series of costly rearguard actions.Pusan The impact of the Truman administration's defense budget cutbacks were now keenly felt, as poorly equipped American troops, lacking sufficient tanks, anti-tank weapons, or artillery were driven down the Korean peninsula to [56][55] As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bradley was the senior military commander at the outset of the

Korean War

In 1950 Bradley was elected as an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati in recognition of his outstanding service to his country.

On September 22, 1950,[54] he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army, the fifth — and last — man to achieve that rank. That same year, Bradley was made the first Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He remained on the committee until August 1953, when he left active duty. During his service, Bradley visited the White House over 300 times and was frequently featured on the cover of TIME magazine.

In his second memoir, Bradley would later state that not arguing more forcefully in 1948 and 1949 for a sufficient defense budget "was a mistake...perhaps the greatest mistake I made in my postwar years in Washington."[52][53]

On August 11, 1949, President [47][48][49] Bradley also suggested that official Navy protests of Secretary Johnson's canceling the supercarrier United States were due to improper personal or political, even mutinous motives, calling Navy admirals "fancy dans who won't hit the line with all they have on every play unless they can call the signals", and who were in "open rebellion against the civilian control."[50][51]

Bradley became the [47]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

President Truman appointed Bradley to head the Veterans Administration for two years after the war. He is credited with doing much to improve its health care system and with helping veterans receive their educational benefits under the G. I. Bill of Rights. Bradley's influence on the VA is credited with helping shape it into the agency it is today. He was a regular visitor to Capitol Hill and lobbied on behalf of veterans' benefits in testimony before various congressional veteran affairs committees. Due to his numerous contributions to the Veterans Administration, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs' primary conference room at the headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs is named in Bradley's honor.

Veterans Administration

General Omar Bradley, 1949


One controversy of Bradley's leadership involved the lack of use of specialized tanks Hobart's Funnies in the Normandy invasion.[40] After the war Chester Wilmot[41] quoted correspondence with the developer of the tanks, Major General Percy Hobart, to the effect that the failure to use such tanks was a major contributing factor to the losses at Omaha Beach, and that Bradley had deferred the decision whether to use the tanks to his staff who had not taken up the offer, other than in respect of the DD (swimming) tanks. However a later memo from the 21st Army Group is on record[42] as relaying two separate requests from the First Army, one dealing with the DD tanks and porpoises (towed waterproof trailers), the other with a variety of other Funnies. The second list gives not only items of specific interest with requested numbers, but items known to be available that were not of interest. The requested items were modified Shermans, and tank attachments compatible with Shermans. Noted as not of interest were Funnies that required Churchill or Valentine tanks, or for which alternatives were available from the USA. Of the six requested types of Funnies, the Sherman Crocodile is known to have been difficult to produce, and the Centipede never seems to have been used in combat. Richard Anderson considers that the press of time prevented the production of the other four items in numbers beyond the Commonwealth's requirements. Given the heavier surf and the topography of Omaha Beach it is unlikely that the funnies would have been as useful there as they were on the Commonwealth beaches.[43]

While Bradley retained his reputation as the GI's general, he was criticized by some of his contemporaries for other aspects of his leadership style, sometimes described as 'managerial' in nature.[35] British General Bernard Montgomery's assessment of Bradley was that he was "dull, conscientious, dependable, and loyal".[36] He had a habit of peremptorily relieving senior commanders who he felt were too independent, or whose command style did not agree with his own, such as the colorful and aggressive General Terry Allen, commander of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division (who was relocated to a different command because Bradley felt that his continued command of the division was making it unmanagably elitist, a decision with which Eisenhower concurred).[37] While Patton is often viewed today as the prototype of the intolerant, impulsive commander, Bradley actually sacked far more generals and senior commanders during World War II, whereas Patton relieved only one general from his command—Orlando Ward—for cause during the entire war (and only after giving General Ward two warnings).[38] When required, Bradley could be a hard disciplinarian; he recommended the death sentence for several soldiers while he served as the commander of the First Army.[39]

[34] noted that Bradley's 'common man' image "was played up by Ernie Pyle...The GI's were not impressed with him. They scarcely knew him. He's not a flamboyant figure and he didn't get out much to troops. And the idea that he was idolized by the average soldier is just rot."[33] While the public at large never forgot the image created by newspaper correspondents, a different view of Bradley was offered by combat historian

Unlike some of the more colorful generals of World War II, Bradley was polite and courteous in his public appearances. A reticent man, Bradley was first favorably brought to public attention by war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who was urged by General Eisenhower to "go and discover Bradley".[31] Pyle subsequently wrote several dispatches in which he referred to Bradley as the GI's general, a title that would stay with Bradley throughout his remaining career.[32] Will Lang Jr. of Life magazine said "The thing I most admire about Omar Bradley is his gentleness. He was never known to issue an order to anybody of any rank without saying 'Please' first."

Command style

Bradley used the advantage gained in March 1945—after Eisenhower authorized a difficult but successful Allied offensive (on a broad front with British Operation Veritable to the north and American Operation Grenade to the south) in February 1945—to break the German defenses and cross the Rhine into the industrial heartland of the Ruhr. Aggressive pursuit of the disintegrating German troops by the 9th Armored Division resulted in the capture of a bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen. Bradley quickly exploited the crossing, forming the southern arm of an enormous pincer movement encircling the German forces in the Ruhr from the north and south. Over 300,000 prisoners were taken. American forces then met up with the Soviet forces near the Elbe River in mid-April. By V-E Day, the 12th Army Group was a force of four armies (1st, 3rd, 9th, and 15th) that numbered over 1.3 million men.


Bradley's command took the initial brunt of what would become the Battle of the Bulge. For logistical and command reasons, General Eisenhower decided to place Bradley's 1st and Ninth Armies under the temporary command of Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group on the northern flank of the Bulge. Bradley was incensed, and began shouting at Eisenhower: "By God, Ike, I cannot be responsible to the American people if you do this. I resign."[26] Eisenhower turned red, took a breath and replied evenly "Brad, I—not you—am responsible to the American people. Your resignation therefore means absolutely nothing."[27] Bradley paused, made one more protest, then fell silent as Eisenhower concluded "Well, Brad, those are my orders."[27] At least one historian has attributed Eisenhower's support for Bradley's subsequent promotion to (temporary) four-star general (March, 1945, not made permanent until January, 1949) to, in part, a desire to compensate him for the way in which he had been sidelined during the Battle of the Bulge.[28] Others point out that both Secretary of War Stimson and General Eisenhower had desired to reward General Patton with a fourth star for his string of accomplishments in 1944, but that Eisenhower could not promote Patton over Bradley, Devers, and other senior commanders without upsetting the chain of command (as Bradley commanded these people in the theater).[29][30]

Battle of the Bulge

Bradley's Army Group now covered a very wide front in hilly country, from the Netherlands to Lorraine. Despite having the largest concentration of Allied army forces, Bradley faced difficulties in prosecuting a successful broad-front offensive in difficult country with a skilled enemy. General Bradley and his First Army commander, General Courtney Hodges eventually decided to attack through a corridor known as the Aachen Gap towards the German township of Schmidt. The only nearby military objectives were the Roer River flood control dams, but these were not mentioned in contemporary plans and documents.[22] Bradley and Hodges' original objective may have been to outflank German forces and prevent them from reinforcing their units further north in the Battle of Aachen. After the war, Bradley would cite the Roer dams as the objective.[23] Since the Germans held the dams, they could also unleash millions of gallons of water into the path of advance. The campaign's confused objectives, combined with poor intelligence[24] resulted in the costly series of battles known as the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, which cost some 33,000 American casualties.[25] At the end of the fighting in the Hurtgen, German forces remained in control of the Roer dams in what has been described as "the most ineptly fought series of battles of the war in the west."[25] Further south, Patton's Third Army, which had been advancing with great speed, was faced with last priority (behind the U.S. First and Ninth Armies) for supplies, gasoline and ammunition. As a result, the Third Army lost momentum as German resistance stiffened around the extensive defenses surrounding the city of Metz. While Bradley focused on these two campaigns, the Germans were in the process of assembling troops and materiel for a surprise winter offensive.

Eisenhower faced a decision on strategy. Bradley favored an advance into the Hap Arnold were eager to use the First Allied Airborne Army to cross the Rhine, so Eisenhower agreed to Operation Market-Garden. Bradley opposed Operation Market Garden, and bitterly protested to Eisenhower the priority of supplies given to Montgomery, but Eisenhower, mindful of British public opinion regarding damage from V-1 missile launches in the north, refused to make any changes.

Army Air Forces Commander General Henry H. Arnold confer with Bradley on the beach at Normandy in 1944.

The American forces reached the 'Siegfried Line' or 'Westwall' in late September. The success of the advance had taken the Allied high command by surprise. They had expected the German Wehrmacht to make stands on the natural defensive lines provided by the French rivers, and had not prepared the logistics for the much deeper advance of the Allied armies, so fuel ran short.


[21][20], and other elite German forces.Fallschirmjaeger Though admitting a mistake had been made, Bradley placed the blame on General Montgomery for moving the Commonwealth troops too slowly, though the latter were in direct contact with a large number of SS Panzer, [19] decoding transcripts, that most of the Germans had already escaped encirclement, and he feared a German counterattack as well as possible friendly fire casualties.Ultra Bradley had incorrectly assumed, based on [18][17] Most of the blame for this outcome has been placed on Bradley.[15] After the German attempt to split the US armies at [12] Hitler's refusal to allow his army to flee the rapidly advancing Allied pincer movement created an opportunity to trap an entire German Army Group in northern France.

Bradley (center) with Patton (left) and Montgomery (right) at 21st Army Group HQ, Normandy, 7 July 1944

Falaise Pocket

As the build-up continued in Normandy, the 3rd Army was formed under Patton, Bradley's former commander, while General Hodges succeeded Bradley in command of the 1st Army; together, they made up Bradley's new command, the 12th Army Group. By August, the 12th Army Group had swollen to over 900,000 men and ultimately consisted of four field armies. It was the largest group of American soldiers to ever serve under one field commander.

However, the bombing was successful in knocking out the enemy communication system, rendering German troops confused and ineffective, and opened the way for the ground offensive by attacking infantry. Bradley sent in three infantry divisions—the 9th, 4th and 30th—to move in close behind the bombing. The infantry succeeded in cracking the German defenses, opening the way for advances by armored forces commanded by Patton to sweep around the German lines.

"The ground belched, shook and spewed dirt to the sky. Scores of our troops were hit, their bodies flung from slit trenches. Doughboys were dazed and frightened....A bomb landed squarely on McNair in a slit trench and threw his body sixty feet and mangled it beyond recognition except for the three stars on his collar."[11]

On June 10, General Bradley and his staff debarked to establish a headquarters ashore. During Operation Overlord, he commanded three corps directed at the two American invasion targets, Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. Later in July, he planned Operation Cobra, the beginning of the breakout from the Normandy beachhead. Operation Cobra called for the use of strategic bombers using huge bomb loads to attack German defensive lines. After several postponements due to weather, the operation began on July 25, 1944 with a short, very intensive bombardment with lighter explosives, designed so as not to create more rubble and craters that would slow Allied progress. Bradley was horrified when 77 planes bombed short and dropped bombs on their own troops, including General Lesley J. McNair:[10]

Lt Gen Omar Bradley (left), Commanding General, U.S. First Army, listens as Maj Gen J. Lawton Collins, Commanding General, US VII Corps, describes how the city of Cherbourg was taken. (c. June 1944)

Bradley moved to London as commander in chief of the American ground forces preparing to invade France in 1944. For D-Day, Bradley was chosen to command the US First Army, which, alongside the British Second Army, made up General Montgomery's 21st Army Group.

Normandy 1944

For the front-line command, Bradley was promoted to temporary lieutenant general in March 1943 and succeeded Patton as head of II Corps in April, directed it in the final Tunisian battles of April and May. Bradley continued to command II Corps in the invasion of Sicily.


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