Omar Nelson Bradley was born in Clark, Mo., Feb. 12, 1893, to John Smith Bradley and Sarah Elizabeth Bradley. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy in 1911 and graduated 44th in his class.
Bradley rose to the rank of major during WWI, while serving in the 14th Infantry Regiment. After WWI, he fulfilled a number of duties, including Assistant Secretary of the General Staff.
In February 1941, Bradley was promoted to brigadier general and sent to Fort Benning to set up the Infantry Officer Candidate Program.
Following the entrance of the United States into WWII, he assumed command of the 82nd Infantry Division and later the 28th Infantry Division after promotion to major general.
In 1943, Eisenhower appointed Bradley his personal representative in North Africa. Soon after, Bradley took command of II Corps and went on help defeat the German Afrika Korps. Following victory in Africa, Bradley helped plan and execute the allied invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943.
His successes earned Bradley the command of the 1st U.S. Army in the invasion of Normandy. Later, Bradley assumed additional duties as commanding general, 1st U.S. Army Group. Following his release from II Corps, Bradley arrived in the United Kingdom in October 1943. Bradley’s strategy was to use the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions to protect his landing forces from local counterattacks by German forces.
Following extensive planning by allied commanders, Bradley landed in France with the 1st Army. On July 26, the 1st Army penetrated German lines at St. Lo and continued to drive into France. Sensing victory, Bradley split his divisions into two separate armies and called in Patton’s 3rd Army. This move put Bradley in charge of the 1st, 3rd, 9th and 15th Armies.
Following WWII, Bradley went onto become first Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. On September 18, 1949, Bradley was promoted to General of the Army. Confirmed by the Senate, Bradley was appointed to the rank effective September 22, 1950, becoming only the fourth five-star U.S. Army General.