Five Stars: Missouris Most Famous Generals

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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. Bradley's command took the initial brunt of what would become the Battle 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. Your resignation therefore means absolutely nothing. At least one historian has attributed Eisenhower's support for Bradley's subsequent promotion to temporary four-star general March , not made permanent until January to, in part, a desire to compensate him for the way in which he had been sidelined during the Battle of the Bulge.

A more likely explanation is that as Bradley commanded an Army Group and was the immediate subordinate of Eisenhower, who was promoted to five star rank in December , it was only appropriate that he should hold the next lower rank. Bradley used the advantage gained in March —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 —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 , 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. 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".

He was never known to issue an order to anybody of any rank without saying 'Please' first. While the public at large never forgot the image created by newspaper correspondents, a different view of Bradley was offered by combat historian S. Marshall , who knew both Bradley and George Patton, and had interviewed officers and men under their commands.

Marshall, who was also a critic of George S. Patton, [33] noted that Bradley's 'common man' image "was played up by Ernie Pyle The GIs 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.


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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. One controversy of Bradley's leadership involved the lack of use of specialized tanks Hobart's Funnies in the Normandy invasion.

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.

President Truman appointed Bradley to head the Veterans Administration for two years after the war. He served from August 15, to November 30, [44] and is credited with doing much to improve its health care system and with helping veterans receive their educational benefits under the G. 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. Bradley became the Army Chief of Staff in After assuming command, Bradley found a U. As Bradley himself put it, "the Army of could not fight its way out of a paper bag. After his initial plan to expand the Army and modernize its equipment was rejected by the Truman Administration, Bradley reacted to the increasingly severe postwar defense department budget cutbacks imposed by Secretary of Defense Louis A.

Johnson by publicly supporting Johnson's decisions, going so far as to tell Congress that he would be doing a "disservice to the nation" if he asked for a larger military force. In his second memoir, Bradley would later state that not arguing more forcefully in and for a sufficient defense budget "was a mistake On September 22, , [55] he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army , the fifth—and last—person to achieve that rank. He remained on the committee until August , when he left active duty.

During his service, Bradley visited the White House over times and was frequently featured on the cover of Time magazine. In Bradley was elected as an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati in recognition of his outstanding service to his country.

Parks 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 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 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 [61] after MacArthur resisted administration attempts to scale back strategic objectives in the Korean War.

In his testimony to the U. 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 , 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 left active military service in August but remained on active duty by virtue of his rank of General of the Army. He chaired the Commission on Veterans' Pensions , commonly known as the "Bradley Commission", in — In retirement, Bradley held a number of positions in commercial life including Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Watch Company from to Hansen who kept a day by day diary during the war [64] , appeared in ; a fuller autobiography A General's Life: An Autobiography coauthored by Clay Blair appeared in He took the opportunity to attack Field Marshal Montgomery's claims to have won the Battle of the Bulge.

On December 1, , Bradley's wife, Mary, died of leukemia. He met Esther Dora "Kitty" Buhler and married her on September 12, ; they were married until his death. 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 Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses and attended several subsequent Rose Bowl games his black limousine with personalized California 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.

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 — Bradley was a hawk and recommended against withdrawal from Vietnam. In , Bradley served as a consultant for the film Patton , though the extent of his participation is largely unknown. 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.

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

Alexander William Doniphan - Wikipedia

Bradley was the keynote speaker at Pointe du Hoc , Normandy, France on June 6, for the 35th anniversary of D-Day, where in a wheelchair he performed an open ranks inspection of the U. 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. One of Bradley's last public appearances was as the guest of honor at the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan on January 20, Omar Bradley died on April 8, 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. General Bradley served on active duty continuously from August 1, until his death on April 8, — a total of 69 years, 8 months and 7 days. This was the longest active duty career in the history of the United States Armed Forces. Bradley's posthumous autobiography, A General's Life , was published in 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 based on interviews and Bradley's own papers. 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. The U. Two recent Bradley Leadership Symposia in Moberly have honored his role as one of the American military's foremost teachers of young officers. While serving as a temporary lieutenant general in early , Bradley was notified that he would be promoted to permanent colonel with an effective date of October 1, At the time, promotions to permanent brigadier and major general had been withheld for more than two years, except for Delos C.

1. MacArthur’s father was a Union veteran, his mother from a Confederate family.

Emmons , Henry H. Arnold , and Dwight Eisenhower. President Franklin D. Roosevelt lifted the moratorium after Bradley was notified that he would be promoted to colonel, but before the October 1 effective date. In determining whom to promote after the lifting of Roosevelt's moratorium, Marshall consulted with Eisenhower, and they agreed to promote Bradley and several others.

Alexander William Doniphan

Marshall and Eisenhower then arranged the effective dates of promotion to brigadier general based on where they wanted each of the individuals selected to rank in terms of seniority. Bradley's date of rank for permanent brigadier general was then set as September 1, —even though this was before his October 1, effective date for promotion to colonel—based on where Eisenhower and Marshall wanted Bradley to fall in terms of seniority as a brigadier general. Bradley's and the other promotions to brigadier general on which Marshall and Eisenhower had conferred were not acted on until mid-October because Congress had to approve a waiver for those generals, including Bradley, who did not yet have 28 years of service.

As a result, his October 1, date for promotion to permanent colonel was allowed to remain in effect. When Congress acted in mid-October to approve Bradley's time in service waiver and promotion to permanent brigadier general, his effective date for brigadier general was backdated to September 1, The September 1, date for permanent brigadier general enabled Bradley to line up with his peers where Marshall and Eisenhower intended for purposes of seniority.

The effective postdated and then backdated date of rank for Bradley's promotion to permanent brigadier general—September 1, —thus came before the effective postdated date of rank for his promotion to colonel—October 1, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. United States Army general. For the American politician, see Omar Bradley politician.

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