Heroic Soldier Feature: General George S. Patton
"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."
Born into a long tradition of war heroes, George S. Patton came into the world on November 11th, 1885 in San Gabriel, California.
Ever since he was a boy, Patton decided to be a great war hero. And why not? He grew up hearing stories of his ancestors daring heroics in every war clear back to the Revolutionary War.
Biography.com calls him “one of the most successful combat generals in U.S. history” and while his temper got set off for the slightest reason, the anger that seemed to simmer just below the surface served him well in war.
"Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men."
After attending Virginia Military Academy, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, he taught and instructed others in swordsmanship which he received awards for swordsmanship in the years after graduation.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Beatrice in 1910.
While it wasn’t until World War II that his military career become so illustrious, he fought with John Pershing on the Mexican border and in World War I. He was one of the first to use tanks in combat.
Patton read, wrote and advocated for the use of tanks even though Congress was not interested in spending heaps of money on these huge machines.
When not fighting, teaching, writing or advocating, he traveled through the country giving rousing, fiery speeches that were called “Blood and Guts” talks. From that, came his nickname, “Old Blood And Guts” that stuck with him for the rest of his life.
Once he wrote to his wife, "When I’m not attacking, I get bilious.". He was a man who craved combat and delighted in a challenge.
"I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight."
Entering World War II, Patton’s American task force took Sicily from the opposition. After giving the city back to its people, he charged through Europe to take out German forces left and right.
After taking command of the 15th Army in Germany, General George S. Patton died from a broken neck 12 days after an automobile accident. He was buried with the soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg.
"Say what you mean and mean what you say."
He is one of the greatest military figures in history. You can learn more about his exploits in the movie ‘Patton’ or from his biography, ‘War As I Knew It” published after his death.
GeneralPatton.com has a wealth of information on one of the most famous, brave and successful commanders in all of world history. You’ll find that he is often called “complicated” for his famously strict standards for discipline for his soldiers, but had many affairs of his own including one with a step-niece.
The New York Times published an in-depth profile about Robert H. Patton, the grandson of the famous general, which dove deep into the family history and legacy.