Patton, 57, was born 12 years after “Old Blood and Guts,” as the general was known, died at 60 on Dec. 21, 1945 following a freak car accident in Germany, a few months after the end of the war.
“I thought ‘Patton’ was a great movie,” he said. “My favorite part was the general’s pampered childhood. He was called Georgie, was dyslexic and was kept at home until the age of 12. He barely graduated from West Point after being held back a year. He had that motor in him that never stopped and was never satisfied. He gave his all to the Army and he had a few days in a hospital bed to savor the victory of World War II before he uttered his last words — ‘I guess I wasn’t good enough’ — and died.”
The grandson grew up under a heavy shadow cast by famous warriors. He came of age during the ’60s anti-war movement and was drawn to poetry and literature rather than the military, the family business for two centuries. Patton was the first male on both sides of his family going back five generations who did not graduate from West Point.
When the proud son told his father he had been accepted for admission to Ivy League Brown University, his father, a career Army officer, asked: “What the hell is Brown?”
At Brown, Patton spent two years in the ROTC program at nearby Providence College. “I realized I didn’t have the family calling,” he said. “My dad was bred to be a master sergeant. He did three tours of duty in Vietnam and would have done four if they let him. He had a certain hardness about him, but he was a patriot who loved his men. War was attractive to him, and by God he couldn’t wait to get back to the action. It’s a very complex phenomenon.”
Arranged by Tom Lom