S. Patton, Jr.’s attributes and competencies of have had a positive impact on
both my personal development and leadership philosophy. Most importantly, they serve
as a model for a legacy of which I hope to emulate. The basis for this work is to demonstrate how
Patton’s qualities are consistent with what the Army has set forth and serve as
hallmarks for my career. First, I will
present how he demonstrated the Army’s attributes and competencies. Next, I will address how they impacted the
Army. Then, I will describe how his presence
and intellect fuels my professional growth and development. Furthermore, I will
display how this capacity for intellect, coupled with his commanding presence
is parallel to my leadership philosophy. Lastly, I will show how Patton’s character is
consistent with the legacy I hope to leave in the Army.
exemplified the Army attribute of character not by word, but through his
countless deeds of selfless service. In
one instance, a former staff officer of GEN Patton, Porter B. Williamson, who
published a biography of Patton in 1979, wrote, “I served with General George S. Patton, Jr. No man
served under Gen. Patton; he was always serving with us.
In truth, I still serve with Gen. Patton, and he continues to serve with me. He
makes me take cold showers, he makes me take deep breaths, and he makes me pull
in my bushel of blubber.” (Power, 2014) This personal
account of how Patton’s reluctance to place himself above his troops solidifies
the fact he knew he was merely a man among men and more importantly, his
loyalty to them was beyond reproach.
Patton was an acclaimed strategist, but his resiliency in combat overshadowed
this; his ability to shine as an adept tactician embodies the Army attribute of
presence. For example, while serving on
the staff of BG John J. Pershing in 1916, Patton went on a mission to Mexico to
capture the revolutionary, Pancho Villa. Though he failed to apprehend him, “Patton was responsible for leading a raid that killed
three of Villa’s men. The attack garnered much publicity and was notable for
being the first time that automobiles had been used in combat by the U.S.
Army.” (Lovelace, 2018) Patton’s ability to
seek out success within failure speaks tremendously of his presence on the
this day, George S. Patton’s display intellect in battle is unrivaled. He had a creative mind and led the
spearheaded the military transition from the horseback battles of World War I to
the precursors of the main battle tank as we know it today. One author wrote, “They were right about using the tank as a fierce and
adaptable weapon, as the Germans proved during the Blitzkriegs of World War II.
Eisenhower and Patton displayed admirable foresight into the future of
mobile warfare, and Patton would go on to become one of the most celebrated
tank commanders in military history.” (Clark, 2012) His innovation and
prowess of thinking outside the box set a prime example of how his leadership
style fully encompasses the Army attribute of intellect.
Patton’s keen ability to lead others epitomizes the Army competency of
leading. During World War II, “Patton’s
forces played a key role in defeating the German counterattack in the Battle of
the Bulge, after which he led them across the Rhine River and into Germany,
capturing 10,000 miles of territory and liberating the country from the Nazi
regime.” (Unknown, 2009) This is one of the countless instances
of when he led others by example in the face of fear and adversity.
is known worldwide for his knack for developing himself and others by fostering
a deep sense of esprit de corps. In a famous speech to 3rd Army, Patton
opens with,Bottom of Form”Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting
to fight, wanting to
stay out of the war, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight. All real
Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all
admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest
runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a
winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.
Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very
thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Battle is the
most significant competition in which a man can indulge. It brings out all that
is best and it removes all that is base.” (Patton, 1944) Words like these
showcase his willingness to promote esprit de corps within a unit and further
exhibiting his ability to develop his subordinates.
S. Patton remains a household name today due largely in part to his capacity
for achievement. Under his command, “the men of the 761st Tank Battalion were awarded a Medal of Honor, 11 Silver
Stars, and about 300 Purple Hearts despite facing racism as the
first black armored unit in combat and the second in U.S. military history.” (Nye, 2017) This unit, known as
“Patton’s Panthers”, and their actions, helped to personify the General’s
aptitude to get results and ultimately cementing the gold standard for the
Army’s competency of achievement.
Patton impacted the Army in more ways than one. First, and most memorable, was
his hard-nosed and pragmatic style of leadership. He was often scorned by politicians in
Washington, but “when it came to battlefield performance, he valued brave and
hard-fighting troops of any skin color or ethnicity.” (Sassaman, 1997)
For this, his men typically revered him, especially during a time of excessively
high civil turmoil. Attitudes like his
helped to pioneer racial integration in the military, which eventually filtered
down into the lives his civilian counterparts.
GEN Patton’s aggressive training strategies began to revolutionize the
intensity and overall effectiveness, breadth, and depth of instruction being
received in military training facilities throughout the United States. Patton’s
famous quote, “A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood” (Eisenhower, 1943) still rings true today
from learning the fundamentals of war in Basic Combat Training to surviving the
rigors of Special Forces Assessment and Selection. His policies and mentality of tough,
realistic training spearheaded the Army’s timeless movement to “train as you
personal growth and development have been profoundly impacted by several
positive aspects that Patton embodied throughout his military career. His two
qualities that have contributed to my growth and development the most are his intellectual,
yet sensible approach to warfighting and his command of presence to respond to adversity.
Patton was well known for his clear and concise approach to war. Later, in the earlier referenced speech to 3rd
Army, he said, “You are not all going to
die. Only two percent of you right here today would be killed in a major
battle.” (Patton, 1944) He spoke to his men
frankly, so that the reality of war could sink in. Patton’s blunt attitude in regards to death
on the battlefield reminds me constantly that we, at every echelon, must
prepare for the unthinkable today, so as not to become undone in combat. This
truth has helped me to grow as a leader, trainer, and most significantly, a
trainee in constant pursuit of knowledge of my craft.
gift of being able to adjust when necessary is one that is elusive to
most. While attending the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point, NY, he wrote to his future wife, “I am either very lazy
or very stupid or both for it is beastly hard for me to learn…” (D’Este, 2006) He eventually failed
his freshman year there and was forced to repeat it. GEN Patton is one of the most celebrated
officers in U.S. history; my personal growth and development have been inspired
by his struggle with academics. His
ability to conquer adversity early in his career has served as a paragon for my
own strife and shortfalls in the Army.
foundation of my personal leadership philosophy is predominantly based upon the
growth and development expropriated from Patton’s methodology. I speak incessantly about pragmatism to my
Soldiers and push them to undertake tasks using the least amount of resources and
time necessary. More importantly, I
challenge my peers to look at problems holistically and objectively, and to
choose paths to solutions that are rooted in common sense.
leader, I strive to succeed. Patton once
said, “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” (Eisenhower, 1943) I keep this quote in mind when dealing
with personal and professional failure, and even more so when addressing the
shortcomings of a subordinate. Knowing
failure is a reminder of how rewarding success can be. This allows me to stay
grounded; this fact is preeminent within my management principles and
predicates my comprehensive leadership philosophy.
Patton’s character is the prototype for the
legacy I hope to leave the Army. The Army
states that character, “…helps determine what is right and gives a leader
motivation to do what is appropriate, regardless of the circumstances or
consequences. An informed ethical conscience consistent with the Army Values
strengthens leaders to make the right choices when faced with tough issues.
Army leaders must embody these values and inspire others to do the same.” (Army, 2012) GEN Patton historically
embodied this passage by specifically doing what was appropriate for the sake
of the mission, even when he knew there would be a backlash from politicians in
Washington. I hope that I can emulate
this aspect of character by providing my subordinates with the mental tools
necessary to always make the right decision, especially when they are not being
line of the Warrior Ethos supports the Army’s definition of character, which
states, “I will always place the mission first.” (Army, 2012)
Patton’s reputation for serving the Army with his deeds more often than his
words, are a direct reflection of his commitment to his country and to
maintaining an unblemished image of character.
I insist on making every effort possible to impart this inclination upon
myself and Soldiers, so to leave an untarnished legacy when my service should
end. I ultimately want to be remembered
for how ungrudgingly I led Soldiers, and more critically, the decisions I made
when the future was unclear.
S. Patton, Jr. positively impacted my personal development, leadership
philosophy, the legacy of which I hope leave to the Army. In this work, I demonstrate how Patton’s
qualities are consistent with that of the Army and how he demonstrated them. I also addressed how this impacted the
Army. I then described how his presence
and intellect fueled my professional growth and development while paralleling
with my leadership philosophy. Finally, I
displayed how the content of Patton’s character is congruous with the legacy I
hope to leave in the Army.