I love exploring history, especially through reading memoirs and studying the influence faith has on people throughout the generations. Over the course of my life, I’ve enjoyed reading biographies of people who made an impact on the lives of those around them. Recently, I began reading “Killing Patton,” written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.
Set in the final year of World War II, “Killing Patton” explores the circumstances surrounding the death of American General George S. Patton. More specifically, the book investigates whether or not the general’s death was an accident or an assassination.
During World War II, Patton commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean theater of the war and after the Invasion of Normandy led the Third United States Army fighting in France and Germany.
A 1909 graduate of West Point, Patton experienced his first taste of military combat as a Lieutenant chasing famous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Patton later gained more military leading Army forces during World War I.
The book is at it’s best sharing vivid accounts of key battles fought during World War II, particularly those orchestrated by Patton. The theory purporting Patton’s death, while intriguing at some level, seems to lack broader support and the necessary evidence. After being paralyzed in a horrific vehicle accident, the fiery military general found himself confined to a hospital bed, completely immobilized and facing a future living as a quadriplegic. The consensus from medical experts at the time of Patton’s death is that he met his demise either from natural causes or as the result of a pulmonary embolism.
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I remember that as kids several of us watched the biographical movie “Patton,” featuring George C. Scott in the title role. Scott portrays the hard-charging, colorful decorated general with such skill that he earns an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1971.
In real life, Patton, born in 1885, struggled learning to read and write. However, he showed athletic prowess and represented the United States in the 1912 Olympics. Patton overcame his difficulties with reading and grew to be an avid reader.
Patton is noted for several famous quotes, including “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking,” and “Do more than is required of you.”
Both of these quotes speak to Patton’s leadership philosophy. He understood the value of organizational cohesiveness while encouraging healthy debates about strategy and the best way forward. He simply sought to do his best and expected those he led to share his commitment to excellence for the greater common good.
As is often the case with passionate leaders, Patton had his share of detractors and those whose feather he ruffled. He proved to be a man of conviction who said what he meant and meant what he said.
Patton, through his varied experiences, demonstrated a strong work ethic and unfettered commitment to excellence. He certainly was no stranger to controversy, welcoming debate and disagreement while seeking to win victory on the battlefield.
I am not sure how his leadership style would fare in today’s military, let alone in the 21st century paradigms of our present world, but I believe his commitment and conviction would remain unwavering. Patton was a man born and bred for his time.
The Devotional Guy™
I, too, have enjoyed learning more about Patton from my own studies as well as this post. He was definitely the right man, at the right moment, with the right outcomes.
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For sure, BSB. While I don’t think Patton would fare well in today’s military, I completely agree he was the right man for the job at just the right time. Thanks for reading!