George Smith Patton
Major General, United States Army
The Bastards, Then Pile On."
Standing Order for Troopers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
in Vietnam issued by its commander, Colonel George S. Patton, III.
General George S. Patton, 80, Son of World War II Commander, Dies
June 30, 2004
Major General George S. Patton, the son and namesake of the World War II armored commander and a veteran of combat in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, died on Sunday at his home in Hamilton, Massachusetts. He was 80.
General Patton, who retired from the Army in 1980, had been in poor health for years because of complications from hip surgery and other ailments, his wife, Joanne, said.
The younger General Patton was occasionally asked whether he felt overshadowed by his father, who gained fame for his exploits in North Africa, Sicily and France and who was introduced to new generations of Americans through George C. Scott's movie portrayal. "I've never worried about it," the son said in an interview in 1977. "I've been too busy."
The younger officer was wounded in one of his three Vietnam tours and was awarded a Purple Heart. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest decoration for bravery in combat.
George Smith Patton was in his last year at West Point when his father, George S. Patton Jr., was killed in a traffic accident in Germany in December 1945. For a time, the younger man was known as George S. Patton III, but he eventually dropped the Roman numeral, his wife said.
General Patton acknowledged that, just as his father had, he demanded a spit-and-polish look from his soldiers. And like his father, he loved history and spoke French, Joanne Patton said. He received a master's in international affairs from George Washington University.
As a colonel, he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam. As a major general in 1975, he took command of the Second Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. His father had led the division in North Africa.
In 1964, the younger George Patton and other relatives objected to a new biography of the World War II commander, "Ordeal and Triumph," saying it used unauthorized material from the general's wartime diaries. Some material was deleted, and the book was published.
In retirement, the General ran Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, north of Boston.
Also surviving are three sons, George, of Hamilton;
Robert, of Darien, Connecticut; and Benjamin, of New York; two daughters,
Mother Margaret Patton, a nun in Bethlehem, Connecticut, and Helen Plusczyk
of Saarbrücken, Germany; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Son of the WWII general Patton dies at 80
BOSTON - Major General George S. Patton, son of the legendary World War II general of the same name, has died at age 80.
Patton suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease and died on Sunday, said his wife, Joanne.
A West Point graduate like his father, he saw combat in Korea and Vietnam.
"Although he was very proud of his father, he was also very, very sensitive to comparisons and always asked that any reference to his lineage be dropped from any reports written about him," said his son Robert, of Darien, Connecticut.
He was born George S. Patton IV but legally changed his name by dropping the Roman numeral. His great-grandfather was a Confederate soldier and his father led U.S. troops in Africa and Europe during World War II.
Father and son both commanded the Army's Second Armored Division, the younger taking command at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1975. The younger Patton was wounded during the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart.
Patton retired in 1980 and lived in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where he founded a farm and adjacent farm stand that sold blueberries, strawberries and other produce. He named the fields after Vietnam soldiers who died under his command.
He is survived by three sons, two daughters,
six grandchildren and a great-grandson. He will be buried at Arlington
Major General George Smith Patton, son of the famed World War II general of the same name, died at his home in Hamilton, Massachusetts, his wife said Wednesday. He was 80.
Patton suffered a variation of Parkinson's disease and had endured a series of surgeries and three hip replacements before dying on Sunday, Joanne Patton said.
"In his full abilities, he was forthright, candid and caring," she said.
Although Patton followed in his father's footsteps, seeing his own combat duty in Korea and Vietnam, relatives say he was his own man.
"Although he was very proud of his father, he was also very, very sensitive to comparisons and always asked that any reference to his lineage be dropped from any reports written about him," said Patton's son, Robert, of Darien, Connecticut.
A 1946 West Point graduate, Patton came from a long line of Georges, including his great-grandfather, a Confederate soldier, his grandfather, a lawyer, and his father, who led U.S. troops in Africa and Europe during World War II.
Major General George S. Patton was born George IV, but he legally changed his name by dropping the Roman numeral.
Patton and his father both commanded the Second Armored Division -- the younger taking command at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1975.
The younger Patton was wounded during the Vietnam War and received a Purple Heart.
Relatives said he had an easy manner, which made him approachable for his soldiers.
"His personality was very informal and very comfortable," Robert Patton said.
Even after Patton's retirement in 1980, he remained active, founding Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, where he named the fields after Vietnam soldiers who died under his command. The farm grows a variety of produce, including blueberries and strawberries.
Joanne Patton said husband also enjoyed sailing, traveling and played "a wicked country guitar."
But his nation always came first.
"He used to say 'if (the military) would take 75-year-olds in uniform, I would go,"' she said.
He is survived by three sons, George, of Hamilton; Robert; and Benjamin, of New York; his daughters, Mother Margaret Patton, a nun in Bethlehem, Connecticut, and Helen Plusczyk of Saarbrucken, Germany; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
A funeral for family and friends is scheduled for July 7 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms
Patton's wife said he always wanted to be buried
near his soldiers. He'll be laid to rest August 27, 2004, at Arlington
General George S. Patton; Son of Famed WWII Leader
By Matt Schudel
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Thursday, July 1, 2004
George S. Patton, who was the son of the famous World War II General and who became a Major General in the Army himself, died June 27, 2004, at his home in Hamilton, Mass., at age 80. He had a degenerative form of dementia.
He was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy during World War II, when his father, General George S. Patton Jr., rose to prominence as one of the most beloved and feared Allied military leaders.
The younger General Patton graduated from West Point in 1946 and spent 34 years in the Army. After his father's death in an automobile accident in 1945, he legally changed his name from George Patton IV to George Smith Patton. (There was no George Patton III.)
He was a company commander in the Korean War and was a colonel during three tours in Vietnam, where he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, called the Blackhorse Regiment. Much like his father, whose nickname was "Old Blood and Guts," the younger General Patton received both plaudits and opprobrium for the zeal his forces demonstrated in battle.
"Find the bastards and pile on" was his unit's motto in Vietnam.
"I do like to see the arms and legs fly," he once told his soldiers.
At his farewell party when he left Vietnam, then-Colonel Patton brandished a skull with a bullet hole through the forehead, according to an article in the New York Times Magazine.
Over the years, General Patton was often asked about his father, and he chose a career in which comparisons were inevitable.
"He didn't dwell on it," said his wife, Joanne Holbrook Patton. "It was a fact of life. He usually said, 'Yes, of course there is a responsibility, but it's also a privilege.' He said he couldn't dwell on it because he was too busy with his own career."
General Patton received a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University, graduated from the Army's War College and did graduate study in management at Harvard. After Vietnam, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas -- the same unit his father had led in North Africa during World War II. He retired from the Army as a two-star general in 1980, having twice received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second-highest award for combat valor, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Purple Heart.
After his retirement, General Patton settled on a 250-acre farm in rural Massachusetts. He began by raising blueberries, and more than 200 varieties of produce are now grown on the farm. He named the fields on his farm in honor of soldiers killed in combat under his command.
In 1984, he called Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) "soft on communism" for his antiwar stance during the Vietnam War and charged that Kerry "gave aid and comfort to the enemy and probably caused some of my guys to get killed." Those statements have been resurrected by conservative commentators during the current presidential campaign.
"My husband was outgoing and outspoken," his wife said. "I would not presume to speak for him today, but you must remember his troops and their welfare were the most important things to him."
General Patton was posted to bases near Washington three times and, at the time of his retirement from the Army, lived in Bethesda. He and his wife were married in 1952 at Washington National Cathedral. None of their five children entered the military.
Besides his wife, of Hamilton, survivors include
five children, Margaret Georgina Patton of Bethlehem, Connecticut, George
S. Patton Jr. of Hamilton, Robert H. Patton of Darien, Connecticut, Helen
Patton-Plusczyk of Saarbrucken, Germany, and Benjamin Wilson Patton of
New York; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
BEVERLY, MASSACHUSETTS - Historians may tout George Patton as a brave leader who won the Purple Heart in Vietnam, or someone who grappled with the sometimes overpowering shadow of his father's successful military career.
But his children painted a more intimate portrait at his funeral service yesterday, drawing a group of more than 400 mourners into a world history books might never capture.
The five Patton children read aloud his letters, sang his favorite songs, and joked about his quirky and "bursting" personality.
"My father always liked a good crowd," said Robert Patton, speaking before a congregation at St. John's Episcopal Church. "The more raucous the better."
Major General Patton died last week at age 80 after a debilitating battle with Parkinson's disease.
During his military career, he served in Europe, Korea and Vietnam. His father, General George Patton Jr., is remembered as a hero for his service in World War II.
But Patton's children - only one of whom still lives locally - spoke little about those things.
They remembered him as the man who taught them to prize a good cognac, loved to sail, and, more than anything, adored his family.
Patton's wife, Joanne, sat with her children in the front pew near her husband's casket. After 52 years of marriage, she plans to continue her husband's legacy through Green Meadows Farm, which she and her husband owned and operated next door to their home in Hamilton.
"Somebody once said the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother," Bob Patton said. "He gave that gift every day."
The children did not shy away from the more difficult aspects of their father's personality.
"Let's be frank, the guy was a mixed bag," Robert Patton said, drawing laughter. "He was an equal opportunity offender. He could tick off anybody, anytime, without warning."
But he also had a gift for apology, humility, and humor.
Patton's oldest child, Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, dressed in a full habit, read a letter her father wrote to her when she was only a month old. Patton wanted to introduce himself to her, even though he was fighting in Vietnam.
"Play it cool," he wrote, before signing his full name.
Unlike Patton, his children had the opportunity to spend a long life with their father. Patton's own father died just months after World War II ended, when Patton was only 22 years old.
Benjamin Patton said his father was a friend to him. George Patton Jr., Patton's oldest son, who lives with his mother Joanne, said he will be the "man of the house" now that his father is gone.
Helen Patton-Plusczyk spoke about her father's positive influence on her theater career, and sang a line from a song for him, a cappella.
"I see my light come shining from the west into the east," she sang. "Any day now I should be released."
Patton will be buried Friday, August 27, 2004,
at Arlington National Cemetery in Fort Myer, Virginia.
Following in the same occupation can be difficult for a son, particularly if your father was one of the most significant names in military history. A famous name came home to Fort Myer Friday, Major General George S. Patton, son of the famous World War II Gen. George Smith Patton Jr., was honored with full honors at Memorial Chapel.
He passed away June 27, 2004, at his home in Hamilton, Mass., from dementia. Patton, 80, spent much of his childhood at Fort Myer where his father served as the post commander in the inter-war years and was stationed here on three other occasions.
Patton was interred in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery in a simple pine box made by the sisters of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., from trees grown on the property. His daughter Margaret is the Mother Superior of the Abbey. The insignia of the 2nd Armored Division and the 11th Armored Cavalry are inscribed on the coffin as well as the emblem of the cross.
Normally Old Guard pallbearers give the casket flag a crisp snap as they fold it, before presenting it to the family. Friday the flag was gently folded because it too had historical significance.
Troopers of the 11th Armored Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. William Holbrook, Jr. raised that very same flag over Linz, Austria in 1945.The flag later covered the coffin of George S. Patton Jr. as it traveled to interment at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg. The banner with 48 stars later was used for Holbrook's funeral at West Point before being donated to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox.
Fort Myer historian Kim Holien has a photograph in his office of the young Patton sitting on a horse in 1934 as part of a mounted Cub Scout Pack.
"They considered Fort Myer home," Holien said. "He [George S. Patton Jr.] served as post commander from 1938-1940 and three other times, as a troop commander, a squadron commander and executive officer before taking command."
The son legally changed his name from George Patton IV. There was no George Patton III.
Patton was a distinguished Soldier in his own right. He commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry or the "Blackhorse" Regiment, which was organized at Fort Myer in 1902, as a Colonel in Vietnam before later rising to Major General and command of the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood.
Retired Air Force Lieutenant General James D. Hughes, Patton's West Point roommate and friend of more than 60 years, remembered him during the service as, "loud, opinionated and on occasion profane." But also most of all, "George was a real good guy."
Major General James L. Dozier recalled Patton as a mentor, "who instilled a dedication to and a love for the call to arms. He was a stern taskmaster, but once you passed muster. You were a key member of the team."
Dozier recalled Patton as attentive to the opinions of his staff officers, but he was also a leader who would not be afraid to put his personal stamp on a mission.
"In combat it was OK to kill a fly with a sledgehammer if it would save lives and get the job done," Dozier said of his former boss. "Our combat operations always went smoother when George Patton was around."
Dozier also said Patton had a deep love and concern for his Soldier's well being.
Retired Colonel Charles G. Watkins served as Patton's helicopter pilot with the "Blackhorse" Regiment in Vietnam.
"He searched for Charley with an unprecedented fervor and when we found him, we all piled on," Watkins said. The 11th's motto in Vietnam was, "Find the bastards and pile on."
Another speaker, Colonel John R. Reitzell called Patton "an improved version" of his famous father.
"He carried the gifts and ghosts of his name throughout his life," Reitzell said. "He was not just a symbol. He was not just a son. He was a combat leader of distinction."
James Patton Totten remembered the Major General as loyal family man and loving if argumentative uncle.
"He was invariably and enthusiastically politically incorrect," Totten said. "He was a kind, but combative man. The family was not always without tension, but he always laid out the first olive branch."
Totten recalled a time the two were fishing in a boat off the mouth of the Ipswich River in Massachusetts and became lost in the fog.
The fog lifted after several hours and the two pulled into a dock. They walked up to a house.
"A lady answered the door at night," he said. "The lady didn't know whether to call the police or psychic hotline, when uncle said, 'I'm George Patton, may I use your phone.' "
The nephew remembered his uncle as character, whom stories grew around. But there was one major thing George S. Patton will always be remembered for.
"Above all he was a Soldier," Totten said. "He loved being a Soldier and everything about Soldiers."
PATTON, GEORGE SMITH
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Major Gen. George S. Patton needs to be added to the list of local losses in 2004. The omission, however assuredly unintentional, gives us an opportunity to report some details of his funeral from Friday, Aug. 27, 2004, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where he was interred two months after his death on June 27.
Dennis Ryan, who covered the ceremony for "The Pentagram," reported the highly decorated military officer was buried, with full honors, in Section 34 of the cemetery. We knew, from a July 7 memorial service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Beverly, Patton was laid to rest in a simple wooden casket crafted at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where his daughter, Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, is committed to Christian service. Ryan's report, however, adds to our perspective.
"Normally," he wrote about the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, "Old Guard pallbearers give the casket flag a crisp snap as they fold it, before presenting it to the family. [In Patton's case], the flag was gently folded because it, too, had historical significance.
"Troopers of the 11th Armored Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. William Holbrook Jr., had raised that very same flag over Linz, Austria, in 1945. It later covered the coffin of General George S. Patton Jr., the deceased's famed father, as it traveled to interment at the American Cemetery in Luxembourg. The banner, with 48 stars, was later used for Holbrook's funeral at West Point before being donated to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
For Ryan's complete
report, visit www.arlingtoncemetery.net/gspatton.htm online.
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to George Smith Patton, Colonel (Armor), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Colonel Patton distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 5 September 1968 during a battle with a North Vietnamese Army force near Chanh Luu.
From his command and control helicopter Colonel Patton saw a force of fifty-eight hostile soldiers attempting to escape his troops' encirclement. He immediately directed his door gunners to engage the communists and ordered his pilot to land in the vicinity of the enemy element. As the aircraft touched down it was damaged by an intense barrage of hostile fire from a deep, well concealed ravine.
Aided by helicopter gunships, Colonel Patton led an assault against the North Vietnamese positions which forced the enemy to withdraw. A three-man rocket propelled grenade team remained behind to cover their retreat. When a platoon of infantry arrived to assist him, Colonel Patton led a squad into the ravine and directed an assault on the hostile position. During the fierce engagement Colonel Patton captured one of the aggressors, and the other two were killed as they tried to flee the ravine.
Colonel Patton's extraordinary heroism and
devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United
The Distinguished Service Cross (First Oak Leaf Cluster) is presented to George Smith Patton, Colonel (Armor), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Colonel Patton distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 24 September 1968 while directing a sweep around the village of Chanh Luu conducted jointly by the 36th Army of the Republic of Vietnam Rangers and Troop B of his 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Intense automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire from a house destroyed an assault vehicle and wounded several men, including the Rangers' commanding officer.
Seeing that the Ranger unit was beginning to lose momentum, Colonel Patton had his command and control helicopter land in the middle of the embattled area and left the ship to rally the Vietnamese soldiers.
Exposing himself to the hostile fire raking the area, he maneuvered them back to a supporting position near the enemy stronghold and directed his troops to more defensible terrain, while personally engaging the communists with his grenade launcher. He then led a charge which destroyed the house and revealed a heavily fortified bunker that had been concealed by the building.
Ordering his men to lay down a base of fire, Colonel Patton crawled through the open terrain until he was at the fortification's entrance and hurled a grenade inside. When the enemy in the extensive and well protected bunker continued to resist, he assaulted a second time with two other men and placed TNT in the emplacement, annihilating the position. Colonel Patton's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
PATTON, GEORGE SMITH
Posted: 30 June 2004 Updated: 1 July 2004 Updated: 8 July 2004 Updated: 3 September 2004 Updated: 28 January 2005 Updated: 20 November 2005 Updated: 23 September 2006
Updated: 19 May 2007