Veteran Chuck Bradley

Charles "Chuck" Bradley

He's a veteran who served in the army's occupation of Europe following World War II, and he's still a fighter.  Now recovering from a severe stroke that happened in mid-summer of 2012, his spirit remains vital and unflagging.

Chuck Bradley was born on March 2, 1930 in Alpena, Michigan to William Fleming Bradley and Agnes Me Rea.  He had no sisters, and his one brother who is eighteen months older set a high standard for him to follow by becoming a colonel in the army. When Chuck was about 6 years old, his dad, a radio operator, was laid off from work because of the  depression and the family moved back to  Charleston, West Virginia near where his dad grew up. Charles began elementary school there but because of his dad's work, the family moved to Huntington after a couple of years, then to Indiana, then back to Huntington, then to Washington, D. C. which became their permanent home.  He finished high school in 1948, graduating from the Washington and Lee High School in Arlington

Chuck likes to tell about an experience he had when he was about nine years old.  His family was still living near Charleston, and he and one of his friends were out on a cliff playing guns, a child's game with toy guns made of wood.  Chuck slipped and fell over the edge of the cliff, and fell forty feet to the bottom.  Chuck jokingly says he was fortunate to land on his head;  otherwise the fall might have killed him.

In school Chuck was an athlete, playing football on his school's team from junior high through high school.  After school he enrolled for a year in Emory and Henry College, located in southwest Virginia, and then he transferred to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  In 1951, while still a sophomore, he quit college and attempted to enlist in the Air Force.  Failing that, early in 1952 he enlisted in the army.   At that time the Korean war was in progress, which was one of the reasons for his enlistment.  However, instead of being sent to Korea, he was sent to Camp Attaberry, Indiana for further training for service in the occupation of Europe after basic training.  He soon found himself in Germany, in the 28th Army Infantry. Soon after going to Germany, he was promoted to Corporal, and became an instructor in the use of the 30 caliber machine gun.  In this work he was promoted to Sergeant.

He tells of an experience in the NCO Club that happened during this time.  A  group of African Americans and a group of whites decided to tee of against one another, and Chuck wanted no part of the fight.  He was standing by the bar observing when a large black man came lunging at him.  He grabbed a couple of glasses from the bar, held one up in each hand and said, “You wouldn't hit a man with glasses, would you?”  The fellow looked a little puzzled, and turned away from Chuck to go after someone else. Chuck's final job in the army was as the forward observer to help in synchronizing the armor and infantry by going ahead of them and checking coordinates.  In this work he had his own jeep and a driver. He was discharged in 1954 as his enlisted ended.

On returning home from the army, Chuck got a job with Eastern Airlines as a ticket agent in the National Airport,  Washington, D.C.  and eventually became the manager.  He worked there for 31 years before resigning.

After his returned home he married his first wife, but their marriage failed after a few years leaving them with five children.  A couple of years after his divorce, he married Anne Taylor, and they took the five children to raise.  Anne and Chuck remain together at Sunnyside, and until both became ill, could be seen regularly on Sundays at the Massanutten Presbyterian church, where they are active members.

Chuck deserves our gratitude for his service in the army, and our admiration for the strong spirit he maintains through his times of adversity.

As told to Dick Young