Born November on November 11, 1885, George S. Patton had an impressive military career. Patton, best known for his leadership in France and Germany following the 1944 invasion of Normandy, was born into a family with a military background, with members serving in both the United States army and Confederate States army.
While attending the Virginia Military Institute, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Patton studied fencing and took his hand in sword design. Patton used his skills in running and fencing during the 1912 Olympics, where he was selected as the Army’s entry for the first modern pentathlon, where he finished 5th overall, and first out of the non-Swedish competitors.
His skill in sword designing also led to high recognition. The design most widely known of his, is that of the M1913 Cavalry Saber; also known as the “Patton Sword”. After the 1912 Olympics, Patton traveled to Saumur, France, where he learned new fencing techniques that focused primarily on thrusting attacks, as opposed to the standard slashing maneuver. He brought these ideas back to Fort Meyers, where he redesigned the saber combat doctrine for the U.S. Calvary. Patton was the first Army officer to be designated “Master of the Sword”. Patton was due to compete again in the 1916 Olympics, but World War 1 caused him to miss the events.
Alongside John J. Perishing, on May 15, 1917, Patton was promoted to captain and left for Europe among 180 other men of an advance party, which arrived in Liverpool, England on June 8. During World War 1, Patton had many accomplishments, including being assigned to establish the AEF Light Tank School, being promoted to major in January of 1918, being placed in charge of the U.S. 1st Provisional Tank Brigade, and being promoted to colonel in the Tank Corps of the U.S. National Army while recovering from a bullet wound to the leg.
World War II was also filled with accomplishments for Patton. On January 15, 1942 he was given command of I Armored Corps, and the next month established the Desert Training Center in the Imperial Valley to run training exercises. He believed in quick response, rapid offense, and the idea that it took blood and brains to win in combat. Here, he got his nickname “Blood and Guts” which would stay with him for the remainder of his life.
Later in life, both Patton’s speech and ideas became erratic as depression hit with the idea that he would never serve in another war. This made him believe that his usefulness to society was wavering and questionable. His life came to an end in December of 1945 while on a pheasant hunting trip, when his car collided with a U.S. Army truck at low speed. Hitting his head on glass, Patton became paralyzed from the neck down, and died in his sleep on December 21, 1945. He remains to be considered an inspiration to many army officials to this day.