General Omar Nelson Bradley

By: Mick Yates

Omar Nelson Bradley was born on February 12, 1893, and despite impoverished circumstances gained entry to West Point where he excelled both academically and athletically. 

Whilst in the army Bradley began a lifelong quest to study his profession, believing that an understanding of the teachings of others was paramount to mastering his vocation.  Bradley was also keen to share his knowledge and spent time teaching, specialising in tactics and weapons.  One of his most important contributions to the army was the development of an officer candidate school (OCS) model that would go on to serve as a prototype for similar schools.  When World War II came the OCS system provided the thousands of lieutenants needed to lead the platoons of eighty-nine divisions.

Bradley led and helped mastermind the American assault on D-Day and assumed command of 1.3 million men, the largest combat force in military history.  He was often brought in as a division trouble shooter and between 1943 and the end of the war he had been intimately involved in every crucial decision that determined the outcome in Europe. 

Bradley ended his military career as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General of the Army, the last man of the 20th century to achieve that rank.  He was a self-effacing pragmatist who, unlike the reckless Patton and timid Montgomery, took calculated risks and did not encourage a cult of personality.  This earned him great respect and Eisenhower considered him to be America’s foremost battle leader.

By Melanie Smith