Bachelor, Dartmouth College, 1953. Master of Arts, Columbia University, New York City, 1955.
In 1953, Bridges received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and in 1955, a Ford Foundation graduate scholarship, M.A., and the Certificate of the Russian Institute from Columbia University. After enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1955, Bridges served in the 97th Engineer Battalion in Verdun, France. He was commissioned as a career U.S. Foreign Service officer in 1957.
During three decades in the Foreign Service he served in the Department of State as director of the offices of Performance Evaluation, United Nations political affairs, and Eastern European affairs, and as deputy executive secretary of the Department. As an international-relations officer in the U.S. Arms Control & Disarmament Agency. And as the executive secretary of the Treasury Department.
He served overseas in the American embassies at Panama (1959–1961), Moscow (1962–1964), Prague (1971–1974), Rome (1966–1971 and 1981–1984, when he was Deputy Chief of Mission), and finally Mogadishu. As the American ambassador to Somalia in 1984-1986, Bridges supervised one of the largest U.S. civilian and military aid programs in Sub-Sahara Africa, and was highly praised by President Ronald Reagan on retiring from government in 1986. After leaving government service Bridges worked successively as the executive director of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation in Washington, the manager international affairs of Shell Oil Company in Houston, and the resident representative in the Czech Republic of the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development.
Served with Corps of Engineers, United States Army, 1955-1957. Member American Foreign Service Association, Washington Institute Foreign Affairs.
Married Mary Jane Lee, June 25, 1955. Children– David Scott, Elizabeth Lee, Mary Bartow, Andrew Devlin.