Omar Bradley, who had distinguished himself leading troops to victories in North Africa and Sicily, was hand-picked by General Dwight Eisenhower to command the 1st U.S. Army during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. Under Bradley's direction, American forces liberated Paris, turned back an aggressive German counter-offensive at the Battle of the Bulge, took control of the first bridgehead over the Rhine River, and linked up with Soviet forces advancing from the east to end the Nazi attempt to conquer Europe. A native of Clark, Missouri, Bradley displayed an uncharacteristically mild temperament for a military leader. Newspaper accounts described him as a "quiet gentleman who might pass for a professor." His polite demeanor, however, was coupled with a demanding nature and the mind of a brilliant military tactician.
Following World War II, Bradley continued his military service as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was promoted to the rank of five-star general. After retiring from active military duty in 1953, he became Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Watch Company.