General George S. Patton, Jr.
In 1942, he stepped forth like a warrior of old to lead and inspire mass forces of men. At a pace never equaled, his third army swept across the continent of Europe. No American leader was more colorful or more successful at the time. General George S. Patton, dedicated to the victory won, was quickly a symbol of his victories and history. It’s hard to believe he wasn’t always this way, though. He was once just “Georgie”.
From his earliest years, Patton believed he was going to be a General. He grew up hearing great stories of past family heroes from his father, and inspired by the great Patton's before him, began his military career at Virginia Military Institute. Then, shortly after at West Point Academy, he proved himself a model cadet. Although, much like Washington and Napoleon, he couldn't spell due to the unknown disorder of dyslexia. Patton had to work twice as hard as most in the classroom, and even repeated his first year at the academy. Despite his struggles, he would eventually graduate in 1909.
With the cavalry as his chosen assignment, he spent some time with the neglected army of 1910. While there was hardly enough soldiers to fill a football field, there was no foreseeable great future - no wars as a prospect. The 5th Olympia of 1912 became his next notorious success, and the Lieutenant was chosen for the modern Pentathlon. Comprised of running, shooting, swimming, fencing, and riding, he had only months to prepare and came very close to winning a medal. He then went on to study the art of fencing, and even produce his own saber. A few short years after this, however, a sharp deterioration of relations between the United States and Mexico returned the future General to the field.
Revolutionary upheaval had broken out across the southern border, and the prospect of war delighted Patton thoroughly. In 1916, a U.S. expedition would move against revolutionist “Pancho” Villa under Brigadier General John J. Pershing. Wanting to finally make his mark, Patton persuaded Pershing to accept him as an aide-de-camp when he didn’t have a vacancy for an aide. The two men would become close as Patton began to model himself after the General, and particularly noted his attention to small detail. Pershing was a dominating commander, and an ideal model for Patton to model himself in discipline and demeanor. In March of 1916, “Pancho” Villa capped a rampage of murder with a raid on Columbus, New Mexico. 18 Americans died in the fighting, and dominated the headlines in the United States.
The cavalry would thunder into Mexico in pursuit, but Patton’s moment of glory was not on horseback, but in the automobile. This expedition was truly the making of the controversial Patton, as after launching a raid, he had successfully killed Pancho’s second in command, along with two other Mexicans. News and headlines broke out as Patton had placed their bodies on the hood of the automobile and delivered them to...