CMH Museum Artifacts - Pieces of History
Colt .45 caliber M1911A1 Pistol
From "The King of Rock n' Roll" to the General of the Army
December 4, 2013
Colonel (Ret.) Robert J. Dalessandro and Julia B. Simon, U.S. Army Center of Military History
When Elvis Presley saw the film Patton, he was so impressed by the portrayal of General Omar N. Bradley as "the soldier's general" in World War II, that he wanted to show Bradley his admiration. A gun enthusiast, Presley spared no expense and ordered a beautiful, factory-engraved, presentation-grade Colt .45 M1911A1 (serial number 306707-C) as a Christmas gift. It was delivered on December 4, 1970, along with a handwritten note on a holiday gift card, reading "To Gen. Bradley, With Love and Respect, Elvis Presley."
The U.S. Army Heritage Museum in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, received the pistol by bequest of the estate of "Kitty" Buhler Bradley, the deceased general's wife. She wanted to honor the memory of her husband – the last U.S. Army five–star general and first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – and remind museum visitors that General Bradley's legacy touched every American – even the "King of Rock 'n' Roll."
The Colt, which sports ivory grips and rich gold engraving, was the top-of-the-line presentation model at the time Bradley received it. Presley enjoyed giving firearms to military and political figures leaders whom he admired.
This exquisite factory-engraved Colt .45 M1911A1 pistol is one of the treasures of the U.S. Army Historical and Art Collection. The "King of Rock 'n' Roll," Elvis Presley, gave the pistol to Gen. Omar Bradley as a Christmas gift in 1970.
Omar Nelson Bradley - The Centennial
by Charles E. Kirkpatrick