Omar Bradley is Born: February 12, 1893

Omar Bradley

Omar Nelson Bradley was born in Clark on this date in 1893. The legendary WWII general and first-ever chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was born into a poor family who lived in Randolph County. His father worked as a teacher and sharecropper who earned a meager living, but Bradley credited his father with instilling in him a love of books, baseball, and shooting.

Bradley and his mother moved to Moberly where his mother remarried, and where Bradley would graduate high school in 1910. After finishing high school Bradley worked as a boilermaker for the Wabash Railroad until he decided to take the entrance exam for West Point, beginning his military career. He married Mary Quayle who was his neighbor growing up in Moberly, and whom he’d attended high school with.

Bradley’s military career flourished, with notable service in both World War I and World War II. However, it was during the latter conflict that his leadership prowess truly shone. As the architect of the American victory in the European Theater, Bradley’s strategic acumen and commitment to his soldiers earned him the moniker “The Soldier’s General.”

At the outset of the war, Bradley helped transform a division of infantry soldiers into an airborne division. Later he was given front-line commands in North Africa and Italy. On D-Day Omar Bradley commanded the First United States Army, and after that he served as the commander of the Twelfth Army Group eventually made up of 1.3 million men, making it the biggest body of troops to serve under one commander.

Although in later life Bradley lived elsewhere, he visited Moberly frequently and claimed it was his favorite city in the world. He was known to play at the local country club and attend services at Central Christian Church. In addition he was a member of the Moberly Rotary Club. The town and county still recognize this date as General Omar Nelson Bradley day.