General Omar N. Bradley is one of five US Generals to attain the rank of General of the Army, or five-star general. Born in Clark, MO., Omar Bradley would become a significant leader in World War II.
Believing that he would attend the University of Missouri, he was advised and took the entrance exam to West Point. Placing first in his region he enrolled at West Point in 1911. He would gradute in 1915 in a class that would contain 59 future generals, along with fellow five-star general Dwight Eisenhower, in the class that was called, “The class the stars fell on”. He would not see any action in Europe during the First World War but would maintain posts stateside and marry on December 28, 1916. Between the two wars he would teach mathematics at West Point and would eventually become the first member of his graduating class to attain the rank of General.
Bradley was referred to by many as “the soldiers general” due to his curteousness and politeness. He plan and execute many important operations during the war in Europe and would also be criticized, such as his criticism of storming Omaha Beach before a heavier naval bombardment could occur believing it added an element of surprise. This premature move is cited as cause for the great number of casualties incurred on Omaha Beach.
After the war, Bradley held many important positions such as the head of the Veterans Administration in which he oversaw many improvements to the health care system and the G.I. Bill. He also held the position of the Joints Chief of Staff, the last man in the 20th century to attain the rank of General of the Army, and was the first Chairman of the Nato Committee.
General Omar Nelson Bradley would pass away on April 8, 1981. Not the flashiest of the five-star generals, Bradley is considered a great strategist and thinker and was highly regarded by military and civilian personnel.
“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.”