The first airport in Moberly was started by Clinton Linneman and Leo Hutchinson in 1927. It was located at the old brick plant and later moved north of Urbandale, then to the Old Missouri Transit grounds at the junction of highways 24 and 63.
Moberly Airport Association
In 1938, the Omar N. Bradley Airport was started when a group of men interested in aviation organized the Moberly Airport Association. Fred Bell, the first president, was the first man in the group to buy an airplane. Clinton Linneman was the first flight instructor. This group leased 40 acres of land at the present airport site from the late H.C. Elsea. The association constructed a building about 20 by 40 feet for office and loafing space.
In 1940 Marion Hulen, representing the Moberly Airport Committee, went before Mayor Tom Tydings and the City Council requesting support for a municipal airport. In 1943, the City Council passed a resolution changing the name of the Municipal Airport to Omar N. Bradley Airport in honor of Omar Nelson Bradley, “Moberly’s Favorite Son”.
New Airport Dedication
By the time of its dedication in 1943, the face and facilities of the Moberly Airport had greatly changed. Taxiways and runways were rock-based and surfaced with asphalt. The longest runway was nearly a mile in length. Old hangers and taxiways were removed and a new hangar with space for an engine shop (never used as such) was built and connected by a taxiway for planes from the intersection of the runways. All objects between runways were removed and the field seeded with grass.
On February 4, 1961, Moberly voters approved a $62,999 bond proposal for the Airport’s latest improvements. Previously, a proposal had been defeated. Most of the work was completed by 1963. The remainder was finished in 1964. General Omar N. Bradley was an honored guest when the airport was rededicated on April 26, 1964, with the inauguration of service by Ozark Air Lines Service. With Ozark came Moberly’s first air mail and passenger service.
General Bradley's Visit
General Bradley last visited Moberly when the Omar N. Bradley Airport was named in his honor. At the original dedication of the Airport on July 5, 1943, Bradley could not attend because he was in World War II combat in North Africa. He came here June 9, 1945, after the end of the war, for a giant homecoming celebration and “Bradley Day” program at Tannehill Park.
Bradley's Memorial Day Address
In a 1948 Memorial Day Address in Longmeadow, MA over the body of a soldier killed by enemy action east of the Siegfried Line, General Bradley spoke these words:
“It is easy for us who are living to honor the sacrifices of those who are dead. For it helps us to assuage the guilt we should feel in their presence. Wars can be prevented just as surely as they are provoked and therefore we who fail to prevent them must share in guilt for the dead. I have not come here today to commemorate war and its evils for the sacrifices war has produced. For every man in whom war has inspired sacrifice, courage, and love, there are many more whom it has degraded with brutality, callousness, and greed. We have come to ask why it is that our young men must spend their bodies against the Siegfried Line – why is it men cannot live as bravely as they die? Men become legends either by merit or circumstance. It may be impossible to separate the two.”
Omar Bradley is a product of both.