Omar Nelson Bradley was born in 1893 in the town of Clark, Missouri. He pulls officer military school at West Point in 1915. He became the commander of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, then commander of the 82nd Infantry and of the future 28th Infantry Division.
In North Africa, under the command of General Patton, Bradley is responsible for the capture of Tunisia in May 1943 and Sicily in August 1943. A few months later, General Bradley was summoned to England to prepare for Operation Overlord and take command of the U.S. 1st Army.
June 6th, 1944, Bradley was on the battleship USS Augusta and observed the progress of the landing on the beaches of Utah and Omaha. In August 1944 he took command of the 12th Army Group.
After the war, Bradley was in charge of the U.S. Department of veterans between 1945 and 1947. From 1948 until 1949, it is the Supreme Chief of the U.S. Army in replacement of Eisenhower. He becomes the first President of Chiefs of Staff. At the end of his military career in 1950, he was appointed General of the U.S. Army.
Returning to civilian life in 1953, he went back to work and died in 1981 in New – York. He is buried in Arlington National Military Cemetery.
Joseph Lawton Collins, was born May 1st, 1896 in New Orleans, graduated from the Military Academy in 1917 with the rank of second lieutenant, he was assigned to the 22nd Infantry Regiment.He became Lieutenant in May 1917 and then captain in August of that year. Staff on a temporary basis in September 1918 and commander of the 3rd Battalion, 22nd RI in France in 1919. Assistant Chief of Staff of U.S. Forces in Germany from 1920-1921.
Teacher (Science) at West Point from 1921 to 1925. He graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning in 1926 and from the School of Artillery at Fort Sill in 1927. He became an instructor in tactics and weaponry from 1927 to 1931. Promoted to Major in August 1932, he was transferred to the Philippines from 1933 to 1934.
Graduate from the Army Industrial College in 1937 and the Army War College (School of War) in 1938, he became an instructor at the Army War College from 1938 to 1940. Lieutenant Colonel in June 1940 he became Chief of Staff of the VII Corps in 1941.
L.Collins Joseph was promoted to colonel in January 1941, Brigadier General (one star) in February 1942 and major general (two stars) in May 1942. Chief of Staff in Hawaii from 1941 to 1942, and commander of the 25th Infantry Division from 1942 to 1943 between Oahu and Guadalcanal in the Pacific where he was nicknamed by his soldiers “Lightning Joe”.
Transferred to Europe, Collins took command of the VII Corps for the invasion in Normandy (he will receive the act of surrender of German forces in Cherbourg) and all campaigns to Germany between 1944 and 1945. In April 1945 he was appointed Lieutenant General (three stars), Chief of Staff of the Army. Chief Information Officer of the Army from 1945 to 1947, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army from 1947 to 1949. He was promoted to General (four stars) on a temporary basis in January 1948 and became Chief of Defence Staff from 1949 to 1953 during the Korean War. he is the U.S. representative to the NATO Military Committee from 1953 to 1954, when he was appointed Ambassador to Vietnam until 1955. He resumed this position in NATO until his departure in retirement in 1956.
Joseph L. Collins died in Washington September 12th, 1987. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Matthew Bunker Ridgway was born in Fort Monroe, Virginia on March 3rd, 1895. He graduated from West Point in 1917 and was transferred the following year in the same school as a Spanish teacher. In 1925, Matthew Ridgway took command of a company in Tientsin in China and then was transferred to Nicaragua. Appointed governor-general in the Philippines in 1930, he presented in 1935 the support of school staff at Fort Leavenworth. In 1937, he joined the School of War of Carlisle Barracks.
When WWII broke out, Ridgway served as deputy to the General Staff of the 4th Army commanded by General George Marshall. He is responsible for office operations until January 1942. In August of that year he was promoted to Major General and assumed command of the 82nd Airborne Division. He led the division in Sicily in July 1943, then in Normandy in June 1944. In September 1944 he took command of the 18th Airborne Corps and was replaced as head of the 82nd by General Gavin. In March 1945 he was wounded in the shoulder during Operation Varsity in Germany. In June 1945 he was appointed Lieutenant General and after Japan’s surrender, he took command of U.S. military forces in the Mediterranean before being appointed to the military council of the UN. In 1948, he commanded U.S. units based in the Caribbean and the following year, he met again General Lawton J. Collins to the staff of the armies. In 1950 he took command of the 8th Army deployed in Korea and was appointed commander of the United Nations in Korea in April 1951 and also took responsibility for the military governor of Japan.
After the Korean War, in 1952, Matthew Ridgway replaced General Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe and prepared the transition to NATO. In August 17th, 1953, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and left active service in June 30th, 1955.
Matthew B.Ridgway died on July 26th, 1993 at his residence in Pittsburgh at the age of 98 years. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Maxwell Davenport Taylor was born in Keytesville, Missouri on August 26th, 1904. Graduated from West Point in 1922 with the rank of second lieutenant, he went to the military engineering school after finishing his studies. In 1926 he was appointed in the artillery and then he turned a few years later to a diplomatic career. With a gift for languages, Taylor was appointed Professor of French and Spanish at West Point before being posted to Tokyo where he learned Japanese. In 1939 he was posted to Beijing.
When WWII broke out, Maxwell Taylor joined the 82nd Infantry Division (later the 82nd Airborne Division). Promoted to general in 1942, they saw action in Sicily and Italy (May-September 1943) as commanding Artillery H.Q. and assistant commander of General Ridgway. He was appointed commander of the 101st Airborne Division and will be parachuted with his division over Normandy during Operation “Overlord” on the night of the 5th to the 6th June 1944. In September 1944 he participated to Operation “Market Garden” in Holland, then he was called and went back to the U.S. to attend a meeting of Staff (General Anthony McAuliffe replaced him as head of 101st AB until his return).
After the war, Taylor was appointed “Superintendent” at West Point until 1949 before taking command of the allied troops in Berlin until 1952. From 1953 to 1955, he found the battlefields in Korea at the head of the 8th U.S. Army. Back in the U.S., where he remained from 1955 to 1959 Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and left the army in July 1959. Recalled by the U.S. President, General Taylor is back in action on the 1st October 1962 as deputy chief of Defence Staff until 1964. Ambassador in South Vietnam for a year, he became from 1965 to 1969, special adviser and head of foreign intelligence with the US President.
He died on April 19th, 1987 in Washington following a disease and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
James Maurice Gavin was born in Brooklyn on March 22nd, 1907 Irish parents. His Christian name was James Nally Ryan. He is placed at the age of 2 years in the orphanage of the Convent of Mercy in Brooklyn, where he was adopted in 1909 by Martin and Mary Gavin, from a family of mining in Pennsylvania.
Because of poor social conditions, Gavin decided to leave his adoptive home on the day of his 17th birthday by taking a train to New York.
At the end of March 1924, James Gavin talked with a recruiting officer of the U.S. Army, and on the 1st of April 1924, James was sworn into the Army lying about his age. He made his classes in Panama in a unit of the U.S. Coast Artillery.
Gavin spent his free time reading, he was forced to leave school early to help his family and was aware of his lack of education. His boss, the First Sergeant, “Chief” Williams, recognized the potential of Gavin and made him his assistant and he was promoted to corporal six months later.
To advance in the military and on the advice of Williams, he applied for a local military school, whose graduates had a better chance to enter West Point. Gavin succeeded to pass the physical tests and entered school on the 1st of September 1924. He studied algebra, geometry, English and history. He passed examinations and with the help of his tutor Lieutenant Black, he was allowed to integrate West Point in 1925.
Because Gavin didn’t have the necessary basic education to understand the lessons, he got up at 4:30 every morning to read and learn. After four years of intensive work, he graduated in June 1929 and promoted to second lieutenant.
Gavin was assigned to the 25th Infantry Regiment, Arizona. He remained in that position for three years. After that, he joined the Infantry School U.S. Army at Fort Benning. In 1933, Gavin, who did not wish to become an instructor, was assigned to the 28th and 29th regiments of infantry at Fort Sill.
In 1936, James Gavin was sent to the Philippines. After a year and a half, he returned to Washington and served with the 3rd Infantry Division where he was promoted to Captain. Back at West Point, to work at the School of tactics, he was asked to analyze and understand the tactics, weapons and vehicles in Germany. For the first time, Gavin spoke of “airborne” and a study of movement techniques led him to volunteer for the new airborne unit in April 1941.
Gavin began the training at the Airborne School at Fort Benning in July-August 1941. He then took command of C Company, 503rd Parachute Infantry Battalion (PIB). General Lee named Gavin operations officer and Training (S-3). October 16th, 1941, he was promoted major.
In February 1942, he studied at the “Command and General Staff College” at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, which qualified him to serve on the staff of a division. In spring 1942, Gavin and General Lee went to the headquarters of the army in Washington to discuss the first American airborne division. The 82nd U.S. Infantry Division was chosen as the first Airborne division. In August 1942, Gavin was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then colonel commanding the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.
April 29th, 1943, Gavin left the New York Harbor aboard the Monterey. The convoy arrived in Casablanca, North Africa on May 10th, 1943. They joined by land Oujda, a town in the Moroccan desert and the division was moved to Kairouan in Tunisia on July 9th, 1943, they jumped near Gela, in Sicily, Colonel Gavin leading.
Nicknamed “Slim Jim” by his soldiers, Gavin jumped in September 1943 in Italy with his regiment and became the commander of the division. Gavin was promoted on October 10th, 1943 Brigadier General at age 36. That made him the youngest general in the U.S. Army. The division joined Ireland on December 9th, 1943, to reorganize and arrived in England in February 1944.
June 6th, 1944, General Gavin jumped in Normandy with his men and led the assault against the bridge of La Fière near Sainte-Mere-Eglise. Upon returning from the Normandy campaign, General Ridgway was appointed head of the eighteenth Airborne Corps and Gavin was promoted commander of the 82nd AB.
September 17th, 1944, General Gavin took his division and jumped in Holland for Operation Market-Garden. In October, Gavin is promoted Major General. Informed on the 17th of December in the evening of the German offensive in the Ardennes forest, Gavin decided to send all men available. On the 18th, the division is on its way without preparation, short of ammunition and winter clothing and Werbomont arrived in Belgium.
In late January 1945, the division was moving and early in February took position in Germany. March 30th, General Gavin was ordered to join the region of Bonn and Cologne in early April. In late April the division crossed the Elbe and the division enters Berlin in late July.
After the war, Gavin was appointed to a senior command post. He was one of the key people in the discussions which led to the creation of “Pentomic Division”, following a possible use of atomic weapons on the battlefield, as head of research and development of army. Gavin retired in March 1958 with the rank of Lieutenant General. After leaving the army, he was recruited by a consulting firm, he was appointed vice president in 1958 and was elected president in 1960 and finally “Chairman” until his retirement in 1977.
Between 1961 and 1962, it will be for special leave, at the request of President Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to France. Gavin died on February 23rd, 1990 and was buried in the Old Chapel at West Point.
Forester Don Pratt was born July 12, 1892 in Brookfield, Missouri. He enlisted in the army in 1917, and was then promoted to lieutenant. Over 30 years, he held the position of Staff Officer to the 15th Infantry Regiment, based in Tientsin,China. From 1937 to 1941, Pratt became an officer instructor at the Infantry School at Fort Benning in Georgia.
Following the entry of the United States into the war, Don Pratt, will be appointed Chief of Staff to the 43rd DI from 1941 to 1942. In August 1942 he was promoted to brigadier general and commander of the 101st Airborne Division. As part of the airborne assault on Normandy, General Pratt, commanded the reserve forces of the division that had come to France by sea. However, the officer insisted to arrive by glider on June 6th, 1944. Taking place as a passenger in the Waco nicknamed “Fighting Falcon”, were on board the second General, Lieutenant John L. May, pilot Lt. Col. Mike Murphy of the IX Troop Carrier, the copilot Second Lieutenant John Butler. The unit held the position of head of the convoy gliders, a shielding plate was quickly mounted around the cockpit to ensure the safety of the general against anti-aircraft fragments.
Once released by its C-47 tug plane, the Waco began its descent and landed perfectly in a field a few miles west of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, near Hiesville. But when Mike Murphy switched to the glider’s brakes, the latter under the effect of wet grass and overweight of the device to slow down without skidding, then collided a hedge … The pilot Mike Murphy was injured with two broken legs, a tree branch hit the glider at the co-pilot side killing the lieutenant John Butler instantly. General Pratt sat in the Jeep behind the cockpit and died of a broken neck, resulting of the violent impact against the hedge. His second Lieutenant John L. May who was also in the vehicle on the back seat survived the crash. General Anthony McAuliffe commander of the divisional artillery, had replaced Pratt at the post of second commander of the 101st AB.
The general’s body was first wrapped in a parachute canopy and buried in Normandy, then after the war he was transferred to Arlington National Cemetery July 26th, 1948.
He is the first Ally high-ranking officer to die during the Normandy campaign.