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Home > Real Men > Military > George Patton

George S. Patton, Jr.


Born 1885. San Gabriel, California.
Died December 21, 1945.


Bee Ayer. 1910.


Patton at WarGeorge Smith Patton was born in 1885 in San Gabriel, California. He grew up on a ranch in California, and did not begin his formal education until age 11, most likely due to dyslexia. Patton attended high school in Pasedena. Upon graduation, Patton was accepted at the Virginia Military Institute. He spent a year at VMI before being accepted to West Point.

Patton struggled with mathematics and French during his plebe (freshman) year at West Point. Due to his strong work ethic he was granted the unusual option of repeating his plebe year. Patton excelled at athletics, participating in football and track, and setting a record in the 200 yard low hurdles. Patton participated in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. He ran in the military pentathlon (swimming, cross-country running, fencing, shooting, riding) and finished fifth overall.

Upon his graduation in 1909 he was commissioned a second lieutenant. He served as aide-de-camp to General John Joseph Pershing on Pershing's campaign against Poncho Villa in Mexico in 1917. Patton attained noteriety during the Mexican campaign, at one point single-handedly killing three men.

Patton stayed with General Pershing when he was appointed head of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He went to France where he established a tank training school and commanded a tank brigade.

PattonIn 1942 and 1943, Patton commanded US forces in Morocco, Tunisia and Sicily during World War II. Victories over German general Erwin Rommel in Africa and in the Battle of the Bulge earned Patton command of the Third Army early in 1944. His uncompromising standards and agressive combat strategy played a key role in the headlong armored thrust to Germany after D-Day.

In the summer of 1944, the Third Army broke through German defenses in the Normandy campaign, and advanced quickly across France. By March of 1945, they crossed the Rhine River into Germany.

After the war, Patton served as military governor of Bavaria, until his lenient policy toward the former enemy led to his being relieved of the post. He was named head of the Fifteenth Army late in 1945, but was fatally injured in an auto accident shortly after he took command.

In 1970, Patton's career was portrayed by George C. Scott in the movie Patton. The movie won seven Acadamy Awards, including best actor for Scott and best picture.


Click here for the text of Patton's famous speech to the troops.

"No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."

"A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later."

"In case of doubt, attack."


George Patton on the web... - Site from the Estate of General George S. Patton, Jr. - The General George S. Patton, Jr. National Museum of Cavalry & Armor in Fort Knox, KY.


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