This magnificent Special Passport of a significant US commander who served in two world wars was just recently made available online. Regrettably, I was unable to grab it. His wife’s passport was included too. Passport European Command General
Aaron Bradshaw Jr., a Major General of the United States Army, was a highly decorated officer. He was a World War II Anti-Aircraft Artillery officer and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. Bradshaw stayed in the Army after the war, serving in logistical positions such as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics G-4, U.S. European Command. Passport European Command General
On July 1, 1894, in Washington, D.C., he was born to Aaron Bradshaw, a lawyer, and Mary Emma Leech. He was a member of the Class 1917 of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, which produced more than 55 future general officers, including two Army Chiefs of Staff (Joseph L. Collins and Matthew B. Ridgway).
On April 20, 1917, just after the United States entered World War I, Bradshaw received his Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps. He finished his training and sailed to France, where he served with the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Battalion in the Paris air defense. Bradshaw was eventually assigned to the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion, and he took part in the Meuse–Argonne Offensive in the fall of 1918.
Bradshaw took part in the occupation of the Rhineland after the Armistice until mid-1919, when he was ordered to England and enrolled in a post-graduate degree at the University of Oxford. He later served in the Coast Artillery, notably with the 59th Coast Artillery Regiment in the Philippine Islands in 1925, and graduated from the Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Bradshaw joined the Chief of Coast Artillery Corps in August 1936, and served as Major and Editor of the Coast Artillery Journal until October 1940, under Major General Archibald H. Sunderland. He was then named Federal Inspector & Instructor of the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard, a position he held until March 1941, when he was promoted to Deputy for Administration of the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center at Fort Stewart, Georgia. On July 1, 1940, he was appointed lieutenant colonel.
Bradshaw was raised to the interim rank of Colonel and assigned Deputy Chief of Staff for Training at Fort Stewart on December 11, 1941, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was transferred to England in mid-September 1942 in preparation for Operation Torch, an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa, and assumed duty as Chief of Anti-Aircraft Section, Allied Force Headquarters in London, under Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In November 1942, Bradshaw took part in the aforementioned landing in French North Africa, and on April 26, 1943, he was raised to the temporary rank of Brigadier General. He then spent two months as the Chief of Antiaircraft Section, U.S. North African Theater of Operations, where he was in charge of the anti-aircraft defense of Allied units in North Africa, before joining the headquarters of the newly activated U.S. 7th Army in July 1943, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton. Bradshaw was awarded the Legion of Merit for his efforts during Operation Torch. Passport European Command General
Bradshaw took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily in July-August 1943 after the 7th Army was activated, and he also served as the Commanding Officer of the 34th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his participation in the Sicily campaign.
Bradshaw took command of the 35th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade in December 1943, as well as Commanding General Anti-Aircraft Artillery, French Expeditionary Corps. After serving as Commanding General, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, US Fifth Army under Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark during the legendary Battle of Monte Cassino in January-March 1943, he was promoted to Commanding General, Anti-Aircraft Artillery, US Fifth Army. Passport European Command General
Bradshaw took part in the liberation of Rome, the Gothic Line battles, and the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy until the Axis army surrendered at Caserta on April 29, 1945. The Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, and second Legion of Merit were awarded to him for his service with the 5th Army.
Following the end of the war, Bradshaw assumed command of the 71st Anti-Aircraft Brigade, which was entrusted with disarming General Joachim Lemelsen’s German 14th Army and incarcerating them in POW camps. Passport European Command General
By the end of December 1945, he had been promoted to Colonel and sent to the Army Service Forces’ Deputy Chief of Plans and Operations in Berlin, Germany. On January 24, 1948, he was promoted to Brigadier General and sent to Army Service Forces in Berlin as Chief of Plans and Operations. On April 28, 1948, he was promoted to Major General.
Bradshaw returned to the United States in early 1949, serving as Chief of Service Group, Logistical Division, Department of the Army in Washington, D.C., and later as Chief of Service Division, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics (G-4), before returning to Europe as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics (G-4), United States European Command, with headquarters in Heidelberg. Bradshaw was awarded two Army Commendation Medals for his wartime service. Passport European Command General
Bradshaw’s assignment in Europe ended in early 1953, and he retired to the United States. He left the Army on February 1, 1953, after nearly 36 years of service, and returned to his hometown of Washington, D.C.
Major General Aaron Bradshaw Jr. died at Walter Reed Army Hospital on November 8, 1976, at the age of 82, and was buried with full military honors alongside his wife, Gwendoline D. Bradshaw, in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia (1893-1980).
FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?
The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...
2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?
Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...
3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?
"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...
4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?
Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...
5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?
Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.
6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?
7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?
During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...
8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?
Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.
9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?
Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.
10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?
A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉
11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?
First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...
Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.
Question? Contact me...