* 9th of June 1900
† 17th of January 1961
|1941-09-15||Lieutenant-Colonel (Army of the United States)|
|1942-11-19||Colonel (Army of the United States)|
|1944-09-07||Brigadier-General (Army of the United States)|
|1940-09-08||–||1942-04-25||Instructor at the Infantry School|
|1942-XX-XX||G-3, 32nd Division [New Guinea]|
|G-4, 32nd Division [New Guinea]|
|Chief of Staff, 32nd Division [New Guinea]|
|1943-XX-XX||–||1944-03-02||Commanding Officer 126th Infantry Regiment|
|1944-03-03||–||1946-09-01||Chief of Training Group, G-3, War Department General Staff|
|1946-09-02||–||1948-08-15||Commanding General Base Command, Marina-Bonins Command|
|1948-08-16||–||Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School|
|1948-XX-XX||–||1951-XX-XX||Commanding General 25th Division, Korea|
Joseph Sladen Bradley, Major General, US Army, Retired, died in Walter Reed Hospital on 17 January 1961, after a long and painful illness, and was buried at West Point on 21 January. Sladen, as he was known to his contemporaries, belonged to a most distinguished Old Army family. He was the son of Brigadier General John J. Bradley, USMA 1891; and the grandson of Captain Joseph A. Sladen, who came with his parents from England shortly before the Civil War, served as a doughboy in that war and won a Congressional Medal of Honor, was commissioned in the Regular Army, and lost a leg while participating in General O. O. Howard’s pursuit of Chief Joseph in 1877. His mother was Caroline Sladen, the sister of Major General Fred W. Sladen, USMA 1890, Superintendent, USMA, from 1922 to 1926. Captain Joseph Sladen Bradley, Jr., Infantry, continues the family’s military tradition, and is the second generation of the Bradleys to wear the crossed rifles.
Sladen Bradley was born at Vancouver Barracks on 9 June 1900, prepared for his West Point examinations at Schadman’s in Washington, and had just passed his 17th birthday when he entered the Military Academy with the Class of 1921 in June 1917. His class was graduated early, shortly before the 1918 armistice, and was returned to West Point for further training until June 1919, when the class was graduated a second time, becoming officially the Class of 1919 on the records of the Military Academy. Sladen’s class standing was 207 in a class of 284.
All of Bradley’s service was in the Infantry, and by detail, on the General Staff, and included tours of duty at The Infantry School (as a student, 1919-1920; instructor, 1940-1942; and Assistant Commandant, 1948-1950); assignment to the 31st Inf (Philippines), 15th Inf (China), and the 23d Inf, 7th Inf and 3d Inf in the United States prior to World War II.
In April 1942 Sladen left Benning for the South Pacific, and on arrival in that theater became Chief of Staff of the 32d Inf Div. He left that duty in February 1943 to assume command of the 127th Inf, then engaging the Japanese between Buna Mission and Giropa Point. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to the command of the 126th Inf and remained with the regiment for over a year, capturing Buna and leading Task Force Bradley in the landing at Saidor in New Guinea. For this grueling combat service he received a Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Star Medals, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and, with the 126th Inf, a Distinguished Unit Citation. In March 1944 he returned to Washington for duty on the War Department General Staff, where he served for the remainder of the war as Chief of the Organization Group in G-3. During this time he was promoted to the grade of brigadier general and received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Order of the British Empire in the grade of Honorary Commander. In October 1946 he left Washington for two years in various Pacific island commands, returning to Benning as Assistant Commandant in October 1948.
With the outbreak of the hostilities in Korea Bradley left Benning to join the 2d Inf Div as Assistant Division Commander. In his first operation, in August 1950, he led Task Force Bradley into Pohang and saved the important Air Force base there. For his service at Pohang he received the first Silver Star Medal awarded during the Korean action.
In February 1951 Bradley was assigned as Assistant Division Commander, 25th Inf Div, then commanded by his classmate. Major General William B. Kean. When the division forced a crossing of the Han River in March Bradley received a second Silver Star; and his successful attack against a strongly fortified position after a river crossing is still taught at Benning as a classic example of a well-conducted river crossing operation. During his service with the 25th Inf Div Sladen received a second Distinguished Service Cross, a second Distinguished Service Medal, four Silver Star Medals, two Air Medals and the Korean Unit Citation. In August 1951 he returned to the Pentagon for duty as Deputy Director for Strategic Planning in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was promoted to major general, Regular Army, on 11 June 1952, and was relieved from duty with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 29 August and ordered to duty in the European Command.
On arrival in Europe Bradley was designated Chief of the Military Assistance Division at Headquarters EUCOM, and supervised the operations of the military assistance groups in Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Norway, Turkey, Greece and the Benelux countries until February 1955 when he became Military Advisor to the American Ambassador, Dr. Conant. In this important post he was instrumental in advising in matters dealing with the organization and training of the German forces for NATO. Because of failing health he was forced to return to the United States for hospitalization and eventual retirement for physical disability. His active career with the Army which he had served so long and so well terminated on 31 May 1956.
Sladen selected Winter Park, Fla., as his retirement home, and on arrival there immediately associated himself with a variety of civic activities: first, as a member of the city’s Chamber of Commerce; and later by election as a candidate of the Democratic party, as one of the city’s five city commissioners. During his first three months as City Commissioner, he also volunteered to serve as interim City Manager until a permanent one could be obtained. His civil career was as notable as his military career had been. In 1959 he was named Winter Park Man of the Year and cited for his efforts to create interest in the full participation of the citizens of Winter Park in their municipal government. Later, in the same year, he was again cited for the “ethics, integrity and character” with which he had labored for his adopted community. He was a devoted communicant of the Episcopal Church, into which he had been confirmed under the instruction of Dr. Percy Silver, at West Point, in 1917, and was closely associated with the activities of the American Cancer Society, the Heart Fund, and with veteran’s relief work in Winter Park.
A few days after Sladen’s death over one hundred citizens of Winter Park, under the leadership of the mayor of the city, assembled in the city’s Central Park to plant a 10-foot holly tree to Sladen’s memory. Thus is the remembrance of his service to the community kept green in the hearts of the people who knew and loved him.
Sladen is survived by his widow, Susan Shattuck Bradley, daughter of Major Amos B. Shattuck, USMA 1886, and granddaughter of Colonel Milton Cogswell, USMA 1849; by a daughter, Susan Bradley Stephens, wife of Lieutenant Colonel John M. Stephens, Infantry; and by his son and namesake. His widow resides in Winter Park.
Sladen Bradley’s classmates are proud of the distinction that he brought to their class, and proud that one of their number so completely exemplified by his life the highest ideals of our Alma Mater. Sladen will be sincerely missed by all who knew him, for he was a joyous inspiration to everyone who was fortunate enough to enjoy his friendship. It is especially fitting that one of his classmates most closely associated with him throughout his career, Lieutenant General Claude B. Ferenbaugh, should have written what all of us so truly feel in the final eulogy of Joseph Sladen Bradley that follows:
"Our Boy’' has passed to his reward—the reward that should be reserved for a born leader and an unswerving friend. Never has anyone given more unstintingly than did Sladen of his abilities and devotion to his friends, his family and his country. His favorite sign-off in a letter, “durndest, Sladen,” while meant to be one of affection, pretty well exemplified in other ways his whole life. He always gave it that kind of a try in everything he did.
His sense of humor was unfailing and he used it ungrudgingly to raise the morale of his compadres at Benning, at Leavenworth, in the South Pacific, and in Korea. He exemplified the sunrise and spread its rays over everyone with whom he came into contact, no matter how dark or rough the situation.
A short stint at MIT made him very much in demand during his earlier service in constructing camps, swimming pools and camp theatres. He was a whiz at the drawing board. Having started the excavation for a swimming pool at Vancouver Barracks in the late 20s, he was ordered to instructional duty with the Washington National Guard then in camp at Fort Lewis, just as the pool construction was getting under way. Asked who would succeed him he is reported to have replied, “That damned fellow who recommended me for this job in the first place.”
He was seen to clamber out of a foxhole in the South Pacific before a heavy
shelling had subsided and thumb his nose and give a Bronx cheer toward what was
then a rather tough enemy still in the ascendancy. For this sort of spirit he
twice received the DSC for gallantry in action. But as an 18-year-old second
lieutenant, re-attending West Point as a Student Officer in 1918, he was the only
person I know of, before or since his time, who snowballed a Tac with courageous
aplomb—and a resulting slug. Perhaps that act presaged his fearlessness to come
in the South Pacific and Korea.
Korea took its toll of him, we are sure, for while in action there in 1951, commanding the 25th Inf Div in the Sŏul area, he contracted hepatitis. A recurrence of this disease in Germany in 1954 again laid him low. To our way of thinking these two illnesses had much to do with the malady that was to prove fatal in 1961.
We of 1919 hated to see him go; they don’t make many like "Our Boy." He belonged to all of us. We were all enriched by knowing him; and his memory will be with us always.
August 8, 1950
Keiser's chief assistants were the usual mixed bag of a peacetime Army division. His ADC, Joseph Sladen Bradley, fifty, was a West Point classmate (1919) of Bill Kean's. During World War II Bradley had served in the Southwest Pacific with the 32nd Division as chief of staff and commander of an infantry regiment, winning a DSC, two Silver Star medals, and other awards. He made no secret of his desire to command a division. The artillery commander was Loyal M. Haynes (Knox College, 1917), fifty-five, who had fought with the AEF in France, but who manned Stateside desks throughout World War II. In the opinion of the senior officers in the division Haynes "was not physically and mentally up to the job. Nor was the very senior chief of staff, West Pointer (1916) Joseph M. Tully, who "went bananas" shortly after arriving in Korea and was replaced.[7-57]
August 8, 1950
As a division commander Dutch Keiser was not universally loved. Mike Michaelis put it bluntly: "Frankly, Dutch Keiser was a lousy commander. Keiser's new chief of staff, Gerald G. ("Gerry) Epley (West Point, 1932), promoted from division G2, more or less agreed. Epley found Keiser "alert and "lucid" and admired him personally, but "he wasn't the kind of commander a division should have. He rarely left his CP to visit units in the field. He communicated with his field commanders by telephone and sent Sladen Bradley [7-the ADC] out to serve as his eyes and ears."
Task Force Bradley
[18-13] As finally constituted, Task Force Bradley comprised the 3d
Battalion, 9th Infantry; Tank Company, 9th Infantry; A Company, 2d
Engineer Combat Battalion; A Battery, 82d Antiaircraft Artillery
(Automatic Weapons) Battalion; C Battery, 15th Field Artillery
Battalion; 3d Platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 8th Infantry; and medical
and signal detachments. EUSAK WD, 10 Aug 50, Msg at 101735, CG EUSAK to CG 2d Div; Ibid., POR 87, 10 Aug 50; Ibid., Briefing for CG, 10 Aug 50;
1st Lt Robert J. Teitelbaum, Debriefing Rpt 47, Arty School, Ft. Sill,
Okla., 14 Dec 51; 82d AAA Bn WD, Summ, Aug 50; Ltr, Lt Col D. M.
McMains to author, 27 May 53 (McMains commanded the 3d Bn, 9th Inf of TF Bradley); Rpt, The Korean Campaign, Arty School Rep, Army Field Forces Observer Team 2.