Phil Bradley was born and raised in Clifton Forge. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and played a role in the Allied invasion of Normandy by making 11 trips ferrying men and equipment to Omaha Beach on the SS George E. Badger. He later completed machine apprentice work on the C&O Railway and became an organizer for the International Association of Machinsts.
It was on his way back from a Machinists organizing trip to Oklahoma City that, at National Airport, he boarded the DC-3 which was operating as Flight #349 from Washington to Roanoke with planned stops in Charlottesville and Lynchburg.
In 1999, Phil Bradley unveiled a memorial to the accident. Planned and built at his own expense, the memorial consists of a granite marker engraved with the names of all the victims underneath a small pavilion. It stands in Albemarle County’s Mint Springs Valley Park, within sight of the mountainside where the plane slammed into Buck’s Elbow Mountain.