The Department of the Army announces with deep regret the death of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley on 8 April 1981 in New York, New York General Bradley's name is inscribed forever in the annals of American history for his magnificent leadership throughout one of the most brillant military careers of this century.
General Bradley was born on 15 February 1893 in Clark, Missouri. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy from the Second District of Missouri in 1911, graduating with the Class of 1915. Upon graduation, he was commissioned second lieutenant, thus embarking upon a long and illustrious military career which culminated with his appointment to the highest military office presently attainable by any officer of the US Armed Forces. General Bradley was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense, and he brought to that office a unique background of extensive military experience.
By 1918 General Bradley had advanced to the temporary rank of major. He reverted to the rank of captain in 1920 in the general postwar reduction of Army troops. Following the war, he served briefly as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at South Dakota State College and was later ordered to a four-year tour as a mathematics instructor at West Point Upon completion of that assignment, he attended the Advanced Course at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. He was reassigned to Hawaii as a battalion (and later regimental) commander in the 27th Infantry. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Hawaiian Department, Fort Shafter, as the officer in charge of National Guard and Reserve Officers' Training Corps matters.
Returning to the United States in June 1928, General Bradley attended the Command and General Staff School after which he returned to the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, where he performed a variety of staff and faculty assignments. After attending the Army War College, he returned to the US Military Academy, serving first as an Assistant Instructor in Tactics and later as Battalion Commander of cadets and as a plans and training officer.
By this time, General Bradley had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel He left West Point in 1938 to assume his first General Staff assignment, serving as a staff officer in the Operations Branch of the Personnel Division (G-1), War Department General Staff, from July 1938 to June 1939, and Assistant Secretary, General Staff from July 1939 to February 1941.
During World War II, General Bradley successively commanded a division, a corps, an army and finally, a group of armies. Two months following Pearl Harbor, he became Commanding General, 82d Infantry Division and served with that organization until June 1942 when he became Commander of the 28th Infantry Division. In April 1943, he was given command of the II Corps which, with the British First and Eighth Armies, defeated the Afrika Korps and ended the war in Africa. On 10 July 1943, his II Corps, as part of the Seventh Army, invaded Sicily. In September 1943, he became Commander of Field Forces, First Army and on 19 October 1943, he assumed additional duties as Commanding General, First Army Group, later to be designated the 12th Army Group. On 6 June 1944, he landed in France with his First Army and on 25 July broke through the German lines at St. Lo, opening the way for the speedy liberation of France. The following month he assumed command of the 12th Army Group, which ultimately consisted of the First, Third, Ninth and Fifteenth Armies. At its peak, the 12th Army Group numbered more than 1,300,000 combat troops, the largest body of American soldiers ever to serve under one field commander.
General Bradley received his fourth star in the spring of 1945, after his armies had smashed the German winter attacks and broken down the Siegfried Line to push on to the Rhine. He returned to the United States in August 1945 whereupon he was named Administrator of Veterans Affairs. In November 1947, he relinquished that post in order to familiarize himself with Army administrative problems prior to assuming duties as Chief of Staff, United States Army. He succeeded General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower as Chief of Staff, taking office on 7 February 1948 and holding that position until 16 August 1949.
General Bradley was sworn in as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Department of Defense on 16 August 1949, and on 16 August 1951 was reappointed for a second two-year term. It was during his tenure that the United States was engaged in the Korean War. On 18 September 1950, eleven months prior to completion of his second term, he was nominated by President Truman for promotion to General of the Army. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate two days later and he was appointed to that rank effective 22 September 1950. He thus became the fourth five-star Army general officer.
At the first meeting of the 12 Atlantic Pact Nations in Washington on 5 October 1949, General Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Upon termination of his chairmanship, he continued as US Representative to the Military Committee (NATO) and US Representative to the Standing Group of the Military Committee, consisting of representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom and France. In these assignments he exercised great responsibility in the coordination of the military efforts of the free world. He relinquished these responsibilities simultaneously with his completion of tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 15 August 1953.
Following is a listing of General Bradley's numerous decorations and awards: The Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Service Medal (United States Navy), the Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal. His service medals included: the Mexican Border Service Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead and Five Service Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany) and the National Defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. He was also awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.
General Bradley's foreign decorations included: The Order of General San Martin, Degree of Grand Official (Argentina); the Order of the Crown with Palm, Degree of Grand Cross and Croix de Guerre with Palm (1940) (Belgium); the Order of Military Merit, Degree of Grand Officer (Brazil); the Order of the White Lion Star for Victory, Degree of Commander and War Cross of 1939 (Czechoslovakia); the Legion of Honor, Rank of Commander, promoted to Grand-Croix (France); the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Companion of the Bath (Military Division), promoted to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight Commander (Military Division) (Great Britain); the Order of George I, Degree of Grand Cross (Greece); the Military Order of Italy, Degree of Grand Cross (Italy); the Grand National Ducal, Order of the Oak Crown, Grade of the Grand Cross (Luxembourg); the Order of the Ouissam Alaouite Cherifien, Degree of Grand Officer (Morocco); the Order of Orange-Nassau, Degree of Knight Grand Cross (Netherlands); the Commander's Cross with Star (Poland); and the Order of Kutuzov, First Class and Order of Suvorov, First Class (Soviet Union).
General Bradley was also awarded 25 honorary degrees from various colleges and universities. On 9 May 1973, General Bradley was awarded the 16th Sylvanus Thayer Award presented by the Association of Graduates of the US Military Academy. The award citation praised him for his "profound military scholarship, extraordinary leadership, and uncompromising integrity." In January 1977, General Bradley was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
General Bradley's life was characterized by integrity, courage, dedication, and patriotism. These qualities earned him the respect and admiration of all who knew Mm. The grief caused by General Bradley's death is deeply shared by all members of the United States Army.
As a mark of respect to his memory, the National Flag was displayed at half staff at all installations, activities, and vessels of the Department of the Army, including those overseas from day of death until retreat on the day of interment.
Honors prescribed by chapter 6, AR 600-25 were rendered by all commanders having necessary personnel and equipment.
By Order of the Secretary of the Army:
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff
J. C. PENNINGTON
Major General, United States Army
The Adjutant General
Active Army, ARNG, USAR: To be distributed in accordance with DA Form 12-4 requirements for Department of the Army General Orders.