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George Patton Case

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Abstract

Without a doubt, General George S. Patton, Jr. was one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the United States military. A brash, but likable general, he was respected by the troops he led and the people he worked for and with. Patton had determined from a young age that his ultimate goal was to become a hero, and arguably most will say he achieved that goal. He was a disciplined leader who was totally devoted to the military. Patton embodied the traits that many associate with for those of a true leader. However, as great as Patton was during his military career, it is doubtful that his style of leadership would be conducive to life in today's military.

Leader Biography: General George S. Patton, Jr.

Introduction

What defines a leader? A charismatic demeanor, intelligence, self-assurance? Many people have different definitions for what a leader is, but as General George S. Patton stated, Leadership is the thing that wins battles. I have it, but I'll be damned if I can define it. It probably consists of knowing what you want to do, and then doing it and getting mad as hell if anyone tries to get in your way! (Carter & Finer, 2004, p.11)

In the military, leadership is the one decisive element with which success on the battlefield can be achieved. Superior leadership abilities afford an army the ability to defeat their enemy (Carter & Finer, 2004).

Few can argue that General George S. Patton, Jr. was a legendary military figure and leader. General Patton is considered one of the most brilliant commanders ever, yet at the same time one of the most controversial. A brilliant military strategist determined for glory can most probably best describe Patton. Patton set his sights for military greatness at an early age, and let nothing stand in the way of his success. His devotion, brilliance, and need for recognition were the driving forces behind his rise to leadership power which began with his defeat of Sicily and a successful campaign in North Africa during World War II (www.historylearningsite.co/uk).

Patton - The Early Years

Born in 1885 in California, Patton had determined as a child that his goal in life was to become a hero. He was raised listening to relatives' stories of battles fought during the Revolutionary, Mexican, and Civil Wars. This early goal led to his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909 (www.generalpatton.com). While playing football at West Point, injuries to his arms forced him to give up his football career. He changed his focus to track and field, fencing, and sharp shooting. He excelled at these sports and in 1912 he competed in the Olympics in Stockholm, placing fifth in the pentathlon.

Patton's Rise to Power

Patton's basis of initial power began in 1915 while serving under General John J. Pershing during the attacks on Pancho Villa. Patton was noted in the news media for his successful attacks against Villa's men. For his exemplary service Pershing promoted him to Captain. In 1917, Patton took command of the new United States Tank Corps. He was in full command of the Corps, even designing the uniform that would be worn. His Corps played a major role with tank battle victories at Cambrai, France during World War I (www.generalpatton.com). During World War II Patton used tank strategy to push back and destroy many key strong hold of the enemy's. The crowning achievement for Patton was the Battle of the Bulge. It was with a victory in this offensive that Patton was placed as one of the greatest military leaders to ever live. In command of the great Third Army, Patton pushed his men through adverse weather and attacks by Germans to relieve ground forces at Bastogne, Belgium. Patton eventually led his men to overtake the town. This successful campaign was the beginning of the end of World War II. Omar Bradley noted that the Battle of the Bulge was one of the most dazzling performances by any commander in World War II, including commanders of the opposing forces (Kelly, 2004). It has been noted that Patton had been over preparing for years for a moment such as this; a shadow of his grandfather and his military abilities during the Civil War (Kelly, 2004). Due in part to his criticism de-nazification policies, Patton was removed from command of the Third Army and put in charge of the basically non-existent 15th Army; a unit which existed strictly on paper. Patton reached the level of 4 Star General before he died from injuries sustained in an accident. General George S. Patton, Jr. died on December, 21, 1945 (www.pattonhq.com).

During his brilliant military career, Patton received numerous service medals. A few of the very many he earned included; Distinguished Service Medals with one oak leaf and two oak leaf clusters, Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster, British Order of the Bath, and the Purple Heart (www.pattonhq.com).

Patton - The Man behind the Ivory-Handled Pistol

Patton was arguably one of the most disciplined

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