We Lost A Hero Today – Patton Dies
It was 21 December 1945 when GEN George S. Patton Jr. died from the injuries he sustained in an automobile accident. Seven decades have passed since that day. He was buried with full military honors on Christmas Eve day at The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Hamm, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg in Belgium.
After a multi-decade military career in the US Army, “Georgie” had left his mark wherever he went. He knew from a
very young age that the military was his destiny. His formal military schooling began in earnest at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia and continued at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York. He graduated in the class of 1909 and as a second lieutenant was attached to the 15th Cavalry posted at Fort Sheridan, Illinois – just north of the city of Chicago. In a short while he would be posted to what would become his favorite duty station – Fort Myer, Virginia. He would spend four tours at this historic Civil War era post that began its life as Fort Whipple – just outside of Washington DC. Each time, he would leave his mark – the first when he represented the United States in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm – competing in the pentathlon. It would be the beginning of the “legacy of Patton“. After he competed, he went on to France where he studied at Mounted Service School and earned “Master of the Sword”. It was during that study he came up with the concept of redesigning the saber that the US Cavalry carried. It became the M1913 or otherwise known as “The Patton Saber” (or Sword).
Tanks for WW I
When World War I summoned the United States involvement, Patton then switched to the armor branch. He fought in the war as a “tanker” – Upon his return, he switched back to cavalry again posted to Fort Myer. It was then he was
attached to the 3d Cavalry, “The Brave Rifles” – The regiment along with the 16th Field Artillery, would then call Fort Myer home. It would be until February 1942 when the “Brave Rifles” were relieved of their horses and were sent to Fort Oglethorpe to be mechanized. During this second tour at Fort Myer, he added to the sports activity on post when he was executive officer over the building of the tennis courts. It would be his third tour on Fort Myer when his work as executive officer on the chapel project resulted in the iconic “Old Post Chapel” – built in 1933 – dedicated in 1934. Patton’s final tour of duty at Fort Myer was as Post Commander and Commander of the 3d Cavalry regiment.
Patton – A World War II Hero
Again heading down the “tanker” path, despite his love of the cavalry, General Patton entered the war ready to conquer the enemy. The accomplishments of Patton during World War II are somewhat legendary, despite a bit of tarnish here and there by his brash and direct ways. From North Africa to Italy … His goal was to win the war for the Allies. However, he was stymied by the controls that General Dwight D. Eisenhower put on him, since “Ike” was attempting to be diplomatic. Patton had the vision and the plans. but wasn’t given the resources or leeway to execute these plans . He was in constant competition for resources and with Field Marshall Bernard “Monty” Montgomery. It is thought that if General Patton was allowed to take Berlin and then on to Moscow, the world would be a different place these days and much would have not been needed over the decades. For a while he was sidelined with a pseudo Army in Great Britain used to fool the Germans to thinking about the build-up to invade France.
FULL Military Honors for the General
It was on 09 DEC 1945 that the automobile accident occurred that injured the General. World War II was over – Victory was declared in Europe in May 1945 and the Japanese formally surrendered in September 1945. Taken to a hospital, General Patton lingered on until 21 December 1945 when he breathed his last. Not the way he wanted to go out…
A few short days later, on Christmas Eve Day, he was laid to rest with full military honors at what was then the US Military Cemetery located in Hamm, a suburb of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg in Belgium. The funeral procession was comprised of over a hundred military vehicles while musical honors were delivered by military bands from American Army, French Army and Luxembourg Army.
- Among his honor guard casket bearers were his orderly for many years, MSG William Meeks (who is at rest in Arlington National Cemetery) and members of the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” – the regiment would soon be performing final honors duty at Arlington National Cemetery while posted at Fort Myer when they were reactivated in 1948.
Tags: 15th Cavalry, 16th Field Artillery, 3d Cavalry Regiment, 3d Infantry Regiment, Brave Rifles, Fort Myer, Fort Sheridan, George S Patton Jr, Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, Marshall Bernard "Monty" Montgomery, Marshall Bernard Montgomery, Patton Saber, Patton Sword, The Old Guard, WW I, WW II