Omar Bradley

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Omar N. Bradley was a beloved commander among his troops due to his generosity and compassion. He is fondly remembered as “The Soldier’s General” because to his selfless nature and charisma. Just as he was graduating from college, he missed his chance to serve in the military during World War I. Knowing that World War II would give his life new significance and pave the road for a new direction, he joined the army and served briefly under General George S. Patton, Jr. Then, he was advanced to the rank of General Officer and tasked with commanding the United States Army Group, the largest command ever held by a single American officer. Later, he was elevated to 5-star General of the Army and served as Army Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a brief time. Among other notable war figures, he also served as the Veterans Administration’s leader. During his lengthy and esteemed reign, he established 43 divisions and was responsible for roughly 1,300,000 men. He has received numerous prestigious awards and distinctions, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit.

Youth and Early Life

Omar Nelson Bradley was born in Randolph County, Missouri on February 12, 1893, to Mary Elizabeth Hubbard and John Smith Bradley.
As a young boy, he attended multiple schools and was highly fond of books, shooting, and baseball. However, tragedy struck the young boy at age 13 when his father tragically passed away.

He attended Moberly High School from which he graduated in 1910. He worked as a boilermaker for the Wabash Railroad after graduating. His tutor pushed him to audition for the United States Military Academy in New York.

He received a second-place finish on the West Point placement exams administered at the Jefferson Military Post in St. Louis. The winner was unable to accept the offer for personal reasons, therefore it was automatically awarded to Bradley.

During his time at the school, he prioritized athletics over academics and became renowned as the best college baseball player, playing on the varsity team for three years. In 1915, he graduated from the institute.

Omar Bradley’s Career

After graduating from the academy, he was assigned to the 14th Infantry Regiment and spent the remainder of 1915 along the U.S.-Mexico border. Upon the outbreak of World War I, he was raised to the rank of captain.
In 1918, he joined the 19th Infantry Division, but the cessation of hostilities and the influenza pandemic delayed the division’s deployment to Europe. Throughout World War I, he taught and researched.

Between 1920 and 1924, he taught mathematics at West Point. In 1924, he was elevated to the rank of major and assigned to the advanced infantry course.
From 1928 to 1929, he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, and after graduating, he served as an Infantry School tactics instructor.

In addition to teaching at West Point from 1929 to 1934, he also attended the Army War College. After two years, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and began working in the War Department.
In 1938, George Marshall, the Army chief of staff, took him under his wing. He was advanced to the rank of brigadier general three years later.

In 1942, he was promoted to major general on an interim basis; two years later, he was promoted to major general on a permanent basis and given command of the 82nd Infantry Division. Nonetheless, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was requested to assume command of the 28th Infantry Division.

In 1943, he was appointed lieutenant-general and succeeded General S. Patton as commander of the ‘II Corps’. He was in charge of directing the Tunisian warfare in North Africa that led to the capture of Bizerte. During the “Invasion of Sicily,” he also continued to lead the corps.

In 1944, he was appointed commander of the 1st U.S. Army, and upon his arrival in Britain, he assisted in the planning of “Operation Overlord.” Following the D-Day landings, he was formally appointed commander of the 12th Army Group.

He was raised to the rank of four-star general on March 12, 1945. Three years later, he succeeded Dwight D. Eisenhower as army chief of staff.

President Harry S. Truman nominated him, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the first time on August 11, 1949. The following year, he was raised to the rank of ‘General of the Army’, becoming the fifth and final recipient of this distinction.

In 1950, he was appointed the first Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, a position he held for a few years. Approximately at the same time, he was appointed chief military strategist at the commencement of the Korean War.
In 1951, he had his memoirs titled “A Soldier’s Story” published. Two years later, he separated from active duty service.

From 1955 to 1956, he presided over the Commissions on Veteran’s Pensions, and in the late 1950s, he became the Chairman of the Board of the ‘Bulova Watch Company’

Omar’s Major Battles

When he commanded the ‘II Corps,’ they struck in the direction of Bizerte in North Africa before bringing up the armor. The 34th Infantry Division, maligned by the British as a unit with pitiful fighting capabilities, engaged the Germans and drove them from their fortified defensive positions. This sealed the win for Bradley’s 1st Armored Division. In roughly two days, over 40,000 German soldiers surrendered to the II Corps.

Awards & Achievements

In 1946, he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Army and Navy Club.
On May 6, 1958, he was awarded the Medal for ‘Distinguished Achievement’

The Medallion of Valor was awarded to him on November 18, 1962.
In 1973, he got the Sylvanus Thayer Award.

In 1977, he was awarded the Spirit of Independence Award. In the same year, he also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 1979, he received the Humanitarian Award from the American Red Cross.

Personal History and Legacy

Bradley married Mary Quayle, however, she passed away on December 1, 1965, due to leukemia.
On September 12, 1966, he wed Esther Dora ‘Kitty’ Buhler, who remained with him until his death.

Throughout his life, he was a passionate lover of horse racing and spent most of his leisure time at racetracks. During his lifetime, he visited a number of college football tournaments as a diehard supporter.

His later years were spent in Texas, and he made his final public appearance in January 1981, during the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.

He died of cardiac arrhythmia on April 8, 1981, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery close to both of his wives.

In 1983, following his death, his autobiography, “A General’s Life,” was released. This was co-authored by Clay Blair.
Two U.S. Army vehicles are named after him: the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle and the M3 Bradley cavalry fighting vehicle.

On his birthday, the state of Missouri honors General Omar Nelson Bradley for his life and military service.
On May 5, 2000, the United States Postal Service released a package of commemorative stamps titled “Distinguished Soldiers” featuring his image.

Estimated Net Worth

Omar Bradley is one of the wealthiest and most well-known War Heroes. According to our research, Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Omar Bradley has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million.


This U.S. field commander and former General of the Army, who is the last person to have held a five-star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces, served as a specialist for the 1970 film, ‘Patton,’ as he was very close to General Patton and knew a great deal about his life.