FATHERLESS CHILDREN STORY 004
by Winsome Solo
This boy was born in Missouri in 1893. His father was a poor teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, and his mother was only 16. They lived in a small cabin. When the boy was 13, his father died from pneumonia. The boy's mother worked as a seamstress and took in boarders to support them. The boy worked hard and became an outstanding student and athlete. In high school. in addition to his schoolwork, he worked part-time as a boilermaker at a railroad company, and also was captain of both the baseball and football teams.
When the boy was a teenager, his hard work ultimately won him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While there, he continued to be a star athlete. He graduated West Point from the "class the stars fell on," meaning that his class had many students who were later to become famous achievers. Future president Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of those in his class. After graduating West Point, he married a girl from his home town and was assigned to the 14th Infantry Regiment on the U.S-Mexico border.
His leadership style was sometimes criticized for being too "managerial", but it was always quiet, thoughtful and competent. In particular, he took pains to study and contemplate military strategies in history. Based on his studies, he determined that more decision-making power should be given to the soldiers in the field. He thought that too many World War I losses were because generals were giving orders while being too far from the actual battles. In his military career, he was steadily promoted through the ranks. At different times, he also returned to West Point as a math instructor, and taught infantry military tactics at Fort Benning.
His greatest accomplishments came during World War II. The U.S. had lost its first major fight against Germany in North Africa. He was sent to figure out what to do. He trained them. It was here, he said, that the American army, "learned to crawl, to walk, then run". He led the American Seventh Army into Sicily in July 1943, where he earned the nickname "The GI's General" for wearing a common soldier's uniform in the field.
Later he led American forces in the D-Day invasion of in France in 1944. Under his leadership, Allied forces smashed through German lines and began to march across France towards the German border. His front saw heavy fighting up to the Battle of the Bulge, where they turned the course of the war, and began to push back the Germans. He led four armies through the final offensives of World War II, capturing a large number of Germans and finally meeting up with Soviet forces at the Elbe River. Germany surrendered in 1945.
After the war, he became head of the Veterans' Administration, where he assured that returning soldiers were trained for new jobs and given good medical treatment and services. He did more for them in two years than anyone had ever done in the history of that organization.
In 1948, he was appointed Army Chief of Staff. He was then made a 5-star general and named the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1949. After retiring, he held a succession of jobs in industry, and started an autobiography, A General's Life, that was finished by someone else and published after his death.
The contributions of this thoughtful and effective soldier and patriot to the modern American military were considerable. He is remembered for his mature handling of others both above and below him in rank, his stellar wartime record, and his fairness and honesty. He routinely is listed as one of the greatest American generals. He was
Omar Nelson Bradley, a boy from a "fatherless home".
The term "fatherless" ("fatherlessness" or "father-absent") is used in this series as it is in research and "father absence" policy rhetoric by the U.S. government, DHHS, the National Fatherhood Initiative, U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood policy and lobbying groups. The effects of father absence can be seen in the fatherless children stories. Citations to research and studies on the effects of father-absence can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
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