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Robert Bell Bradley enlisted in the United States Army in October of 1942 as an aid man. He spent several months training to be a first responder on the front lines of combat and learning how to deal with a variety of issues. He was then attached to the 30th Infantry Division and sent to England in preparation for operation OVERLORD and the D-Day Invasion. Two months later, he was captured by the Germans and this event began a year long journey filled with death and near misses. [1] While Bradley’s experiences cannot speak for all prisoner of war narratives, his tale represents a unique story in which he traversed nearly all of Europe and became a part of several key events of World War II. Several characters make periodic appearances in Bradley’s narrative, including Arley Goodenkauf, a fellow prisoner in Stalag III C, who plays a key role in said POW camp. As more and more veterans die, it has become increasingly important to share their stories so they are not lost. For such a prolific writer as Bradley, this is doubly important as he has recorded his memoirs for future generations but has left it up to historians to contextualize and interpret them. What follows is a first attempt at such an interpretation.

[1] Robert B. Bradley, “The Lost Battalion,” “The Lost Battalion and Vermont Poems ( n.p. 1993), Musselman Library Special Collections; Robert B. Bradley, Aid Man! (New York: Vantage Press, 1970), Musselman Library Special Collections, 14-104.