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“We found, in Europe, that people treated us just like any other unit of soldiers.” (Video interview 19:37)

   Odra W. Bradley
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Staff Sergeant Odra Bradley, Camp Carson [1943]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 3053rd Quartermaster Salvage Collection Company
Service Location: Camp Carson, Colorado; Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming; Le Harve, France; Luxembourg; Belgium; Germany; European Theater
Rank: Staff Sergeant
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Coming of age in segregated, small town Missouri at the beginning of World War II, Odra Bradley was desperate to escape the limited educational and professional opportunities available to African Americans. In his oral history interview, he describes how his military service yielded tangible benefits--such as the GI Bill--but also broadened his view of the world and taught him to coexist with a wide range of people, including the German civilians he interacted with during his time with 3053rd Quartermaster Salvage Collection Company in the European Theater. The respect extended to him by Europeans demonstrated that poor treatment on the basis of skin color was not an immutable fact of life, even for an African American soldier serving in the segregated Army

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (49 min.)
»Photo Album  (14 photos)
»Memoir, "Additional Biographical Information -- Odra "Brad" Bradley, PhD"
 Official Documents
»View List (7 items)
 Personal Correspondence
»View List (3 items)
More like this
»Executive Order 9981
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Only menial jobs with no benefits open to African Americans; felt stymied by these opportunities; felt duty to support country; benefits of military service; volunteering for service with his brother. (02:25) Chosen for non-commissioned officer training; camp life; mixing with people from all walks of life; social life at Camp Carson; making friends during training. (04:09) Positive reception by European civilians. (00:30)
Being part of a segregated unit kept him off the front lines; importance of GI Bill; belief in military. (01:39)  
 Official Documents (7 items)
Motor Transport Club ID Card U.S. Army Projection Operator's Permit, Signal Corps Training Film Library Identification Discharge Certificate
Enlisted Record and Report of Separation with Honorable Discharge Separation Qualification Record Application for Servicemen's Readjustment Allowance
Discharge certificate [11/11/1945]  
 Personal Correspondence (3 items)
Letter to Father [08/02/1942] Letter to "Pop" [?] [05/16/1943] Letter requesting a copy of his discharge paperwork

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  October 26, 2011
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