USS BRADLEY was the second ship of the Garcia Class of frigates. Her keel was laid on 17 January 1963 at the San Francisco Yard of the Bethlehem Steel Company. She was launched on 26 March 1964 and place in commission on 15 May 1965. She was the first ship of the Navy to bear the name of Captain Willis W. Bradley, Jr., USN.

Willis Winter Bradley, Jr. was born in Ransomville, New York, on June 28, 1884, son of Willis Winter and Sarah Anne (Johnson) Bradley. He attended the Archibald Business College and Curtis Commerce College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Hamlin University (Preparatory Department), in St. Paul, Minnesota, before his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, Maryland, from North Dakota in 1903. As a Midshipman he was a member of the Crew for three years, its Captain in 1906. He was graduated on September 12, 1906, with the first section of the Class of 1907; served the two years at sea then required by law, on the USS VIRGINIA; and was commissioned Ensign in the U.S. Navy on September 3, 1908. By normal advancement, he attained the rank of Captain, to date from July 1, 1933 and was transferred to the Retired List of Navy in that rank on August 1, 1946.

Detached from the USS VIRGINIA in the fall of 1908, he served on board the USS CULGOA until October 1910, then reported to the Fore River Shipbuilding Company at Quincy, Massachusetts, to assist in fitting out the USS PERKINS. For five months after her commissioning on November 18, 1910 he served on board that destroyer, then from March 1911 until September 1912 had successive duty on board the USS HANCOCK and USS NORTH CAROLINA. Later in 1912 he was ordered to Annapolis, Maryland to command the USS BIDDLE, and upon arrival was placed in command of the Reserve Torpedo Group there.

From September 1913 to May 1915 he was a student in Ordinance, first at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, later at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. from which he was graduated with the degree of Master of Science in Chemistry and Explosives, and still later at various other places, including the Naval Proving Ground Indianhead, Maryland and Works of Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, Rochester, New York, and of Midvale Steel Company, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania.

Again ordered to sea, he commanded the USS STEWART from July until December 1915, and then was Commanding Officer of the USS HULL, with additional duty as commander Reserve Torpedo Division, Pacific Fleet. While in command of the USS HULL he also commanded all Naval forces in flooded areas during the Otay-Tijuana, California flood. From September 1916 until February 1917, he served on board the USS SAN DIEGO, after which, during the early period of World War I until January 1918, he served as Ginnery Officer of the USS PITTSBURGH. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, with the following citation.

“For extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving on the USS PITTSBURGH at the time of an accidental explosion of ammunition on that vessel. On July 23, 1917, some saluting cartridge cases were being reloaded in the after casemate, through an accident an explosion occurred. Captain Bradley (then a Lieutenant), who was about to enter the casemate was blown back by the explosion and rendered momentarily unconscious, but while still dazed, crawled into the casemate through blinding smoke, rescued a man, then reentered the casemate to extinguish burning materials in dangerous proximity to a considerable amount of powder, thus preventing further explosions.”

During the last years of the war, and until August 1919, he served as Chief of Explosives, Fuses and Primers Section, in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, Washington, D.C., and for ten months thereafter was Naval Inspector at the Naval Torpedo Station, Keyport, Washington. At sea from June 1920 until May 1921, he served as Gunnery Officer of the USS TEXAS, and upon detachment reported to the Navy Yard, Mare Island, California, to assist in fitting out the USS CALIFORNIA. He joined the battleship as Gunnery Officer upon her commissioning, August 10, 1921, and served as such until May 1922.

Returning to Keyport, he had another two-year tour at the Naval Torpedo Station, this time as Naval Inspector of Ordinance in Charge. In July 1924 he assumed command of the USS GOLDSTAR, station ship at Guam, Marinas Islands, and in November 1926 was detached for duty in the Naval Reserve Section of the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. In June 1929 he returned to Guam, having accepted an appointment as Naval Governor of that island. For service to the Catholic Church while there, His Holiness Pope Pius XI awarded him the Silver Medal commemorating the First Anniversary of the Independence of the Catholic Church.

In July 1931 he assumed command of the USS BRIDGE, and after two years at seas served until June 1935 as Captain of the Yard, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii. From December of the year until June 1937 he had command of the USS PORTLAND, after which he was a student for a year at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. In May 1938 he was appointed a Member of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific Coast Section, with headquarters at Long Beach, California. When detached a year later, he assumed command of Destroyer Squadron THIRTY-ONE, his pendant in the USS MACLEISH, and after a year at sea, was then assigned to the Board of Inspections and Survey, Pacific Coast Section. He served there until his retirement on August 1, 1946.

Captain Bradley served as a Member of the Eightieth Congress of the United States, as representative of the Eighteenth District of California, in 1947-1949.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, awarded by Congress for World War I service, Captain Bradley had the Cuban Pacification Medal (USS VIRGINIA); The Mexican Service Medal (USS HULL); The World War I Victory Medal, Patrol Clasp (USS PITTSBURGH); the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal. He was also awarded the Messina Earthquake Medal by the Italian Red Cross, as well as the Silver Medal by Pope Pius XI.

Thanks to Brain Brisky, GMG3 87-88 for faxing a copy of the Decommissioning Program from which this biography was taken