George S. Patton
Anne Wilson Patton
December 24, 1923 Boston, Massachusetts (
Arlington National Cemetery
United States of America
Years of service
1946–1980 (USMA: 1942–1946)
A/140/40th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion/81st Armored/1st Armored Division, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division
June 27, 2004, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, United States
George S. Patton, Ruth Wilson
George S Patton, Helen Patton, Robert H Patton, Brian M Sobel, Arthur W Radford
United States Army
George Smith Patton IV (December 24, 1923 – June 27, 2004) was a major general in the United States Army and the son of World War II general, George S. Patton, Jr.. He served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
- Military biography
- Korean War
- Vietnam War
- Brigadier general
- Major general
- Awards and decorations
- Post military work and death
- Family name
Patton was educated at The Hill School. A 1946 graduate of West Point Patton was initially trained as an infantry officer. His first assignment was to Regensburg, West Germany where he participated in the 1948 Berlin Airlift. The troops under his command were used to load supplies onto Air Force transport aircraft bound for Berlin. In 1952, he joined C Company, 63rd Tank Battalion, 1st Infantry Division as a platoon leader. A year after he returned from Germany, he married Joanne Holbrook.
Patton served in the Korean War from February 1953, commanding "A" Company of the 140th Tank Battalion, 40th Infantry Division. Patton received his first Silver Star and the Purple Heart in Korea.
Returning to the United States in 1954, Patton, now a captain, was initially assigned to West Point but was quickly picked up as part of an exchange program and was sent to teach at the United States Naval Academy.
Patton served a total of three tours of duty in South Vietnam, the first from April 1962 to April 1963 at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, during which he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He then took command of the 2nd Medium Tank Battalion, 81st Armored Regiment of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood Texas, before his second tour in 1967, this one lasting only three months. During Patton's final and most intense tour, lasting from January 1968 to January 1969, he was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses for his actions on the battlefield. During this final tour, he was initially assigned as Chief of Operations and Plans at Headquarters, United States Army Vietnam. However, after his promotion to colonel in April 1968, he was given command of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. During his three tours in Vietnam, Patton, who frequently used helicopters as a mobile command post, was shot down three times and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After Vietnam, he was promoted to brigadier general in June 1970 before becoming the commanding officer of the U.S. 2nd Armored Division, in 1975, as a Major General, a unit his father had commanded just before the U.S. had entered World War II, making this the first time in U.S. Army history that a father and a son had both commanded the same division. The Abramses were the second to accomplish this feat.
Brigadier General Patton was Deputy Post Commander at Fort Knox, Kentucky during 1972. Patton was known by the troops as a "GI General," not to be confused with General Bradley, often appearing in A-2-3 Dining Hall during meal times. Often the general would be behind the serving line.
Major General Patton was assigned to the VII Corps in Germany, as the Deputy Commander. He was stationed near Stuttgart, where Manfred Rommel, son of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was a government officer who later became the city's mayor and the two met for the first time. The sons of the two former adversaries entered a much publicized friendship, which continued until the general's death in 2004. The men shared the same birthday, December 24.
Awards and decorations
General Patton's military awards include:
Post-military work and death
In the years after his 1980 retirement, Patton turned an estate owned by his father located north of Boston into the Green Meadows Farm, where he named the fields after Vietnam soldiers who died under his command. In 1997 Patton worked alongside author Brian Sobel to write The Fighting Pattons, a book which served as an official family biography of his father as well as a comparison between the military of his father's generation and that of his son, a time which covered five conflicts and almost 70 years of combined service.
He died from a form of Parkinson's disease at the age of 80 in 2004. His youngest son Benjamin Patton has written a family biography entitled Growing Up Patton: Reflections on Heroes, History, and Family Wisdom, which reflected on his grandfather and father's careers.
Patton was the fourth in his line to be named George Smith Patton. His great-grandfather, the first George Smith Patton, was a colonel in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was killed in 1864, at the Battle of Opequon. Patton's grandfather, born George William Patton in 1856, changed his name to George Smith Patton in 1868, in honor of his father. He was the only one of the four George Pattons not to serve in the military (although he, like the other three, attended the Virginia Military Institute). Patton's father was the renowned George Smith Patton, Jr., the World War II general most famous for his command of the Third U.S. Army in Northwest Europe in 1944 and 1945.
Though given the name Junior, Patton's father was actually the third George Smith Patton. For this reason, Patton was christened George Smith Patton IV. Following his father's death in 1945, Patton changed his legal name to George Smith Patton, dropping the Roman numerals. His eldest son, technically the fifth George S. Patton, is also known as George Smith Patton, Jr. WW II General Patton's young grandson, who still is living, has given interviews on the History Channel and the Military Channel, recalling his family heritage. Another son, Robert H. Patton, has written a history of the Patton family: "The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family" (Crown, 1994). And still another son, filmmaker Benjamin W. Patton, recorded tapes of his father's memories of his own and his grandfather's experiences, and those tapes formed the basis of the book "The Fighting Pattons" by Brian M. Sobel.