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Follett Bradley was born in Omaha, Neb., in 1890. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with a bachelor of science degree on June 4, 1910, and was commissioned an Ensign. He served in the Navy until Jan. 24, 1912, when he accepted a commission as second lieutenant of Field Artillery, U.S. Army.

His first assignment was with the 6th Field Artillery at Fort Riley, Kan. A pioneer in aviation, as far back as 1912, he participated on several flights in an early Wright biplane at Fort Riley in connection with experiments in the conduct of field artillery fire. In June 1914, he accompanied his regiment to Laredo, Texas, and later that month was promoted to first lieutenant and detailed to the Ordnance Department. The following year he was ordered to the Sandy Hook Proving Ground, N.J., to attend the Ordnance School of Application. 

In 1916 he learned to fly at Mineola, Long Island, N.Y. He was promoted to captain on May 15, 1917, and in August 1917 was ordered overseas, serving under the Air Commander, American Expeditionary Forces, Zone of Advance, on duty connected with the armament of airplanes and aerial gunnery. During his service overseas, he piloted Curtiss, Nieuport, Spad and DeHaviland type airplanes. On Nov. 26, 1917, he received the rating of Junior Military Aviator.

On Jan. 10, 1918, he was relieved from duty with the Air Service and was assigned to the 17th Field Artillery. He was promoted to major on July 2, 1918. He took part in the Aisne Defensive, in the capture of Vaux in July 1918, and in the Aisne-Marne Offensive from July 18 to July 26, 1918. He was cited for gallantry and received the Silver Star and the French Croix de Guerre with palms. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel on July 30. In September he returned to the United States and placed on duty as Instructor at the Artillery School of Fire at Fort Sill, Okla. During the course of his service at this post, he held at different times the positions of Director, Artillery School of Fire; Officer in Charge of Flying; Commandant, Air Service Observation and Communications School; and Executive Officer of that school. In the meantime, he availed himself of every opportunity to keep in flying practice. He passed the examination for the rating of Airplane Pilot on Aug. 12, 1920.

In August 1921, he was assigned as a student at the Air Service Engineering School at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. After graduation in August 1922, he was transferred to Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill., as the Assistant Commandant of the Air Service Technical School. In August 1923, he was transferred to duty to the Panama Canal Department and served in the dual capacity of Commanding Officer of France Field and the 6th Composite Group. He also served for a time as Air Officer of the Panama Canal Department. Upon his completion of his tour of duty in Panama in September 1926, he was assigned as a student at the Air Corps Tactical School, then at Langley Field, Va. Graduating the following year, he continued in the capacity of student for another year, this time at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He then returned to Langley Field for duty as Instructor at the Tactical School, and also held the position of Director of Instruction.

During the period from August 1931 to June 1933, he was again on duty as a student, completing the one year courses at the Army War College, Washington, D.C., and the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. In June 1933, he was assigned to duty at Mitchel Field, N.Y., as Commanding Officer of the 9th Observation Group. When the Army Air Corps took over the operations of the Air Mail from February to June 1934, he served in the capacity of Chief Inspector. In June 1934, he was detailed as a member of the War Department General Staff and assigned to the War Plans Division, remaining in this duty until March 1, 1935, when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to duty at General Headquarters Air Force, Langley Field, Va., as Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, for Military Intelligence. He was promoted to colonel on Aug. 26, 1936.

In January 1938, he was ordered to Moffett Field, Calif., where he served as Commanding Officer until June 1939. He was then transferred to Puerto Rico as Department Air Officer. On Oct. 1, 1940, he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to command the 13th Composite Wing in Puerto Rico on Nov. 20, 1940. On July 19, 1941, he was assigned to command the 3rd Bombardment Wing at MacDill Field, Fla. On Sept. 29, 1941, he was placed in charge of the 3rd Bomber Command at Drew Field, Fla., and in March1942 he was promoted to major general and assigned as Commanding General of the First Air Force at Mitchel Field, N.Y. On July 21, 1942, he was relieved from this assignment and transferred to the Army Group, Washington, D.C. On March 15, 1943, he was released from assignment and duty with the Army Group and assigned to the Air Inspector, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C. In recognition of his distinguished service from June 1942 to June 1943, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

General Bradley was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star; World War I Victory Medal with three Battle Clasps for the Aisne, Aisne Marne and Defense Sector Campaigns; Mexican Border Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross; Army Commendation Ribbon; American Defense Service Medal with Foreign Service Clasp; European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Aviation Badge 'Command Pilot'.

Ensign June 4, 1906
Second Lieutenant Jan. 24, 1912
First Lieutenant July 1, 1916
Captain May 15, 1917
Major July 2, 1918
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 1, 1935
Colonel Aug. 26, 1936
Brigadier General Oct. 1, 1940
Major General Feb. 25, 1942


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