Born to one of the wealthiest families in San Gabriel, California, George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885-1945) was a complex man who was dyslexic and loved poetry.
"Say what you mean and mean what you say," he advised and had the reputation of speaking his mind with a steady stream of colorful words that underscored his philosophy of "giving it to 'em straight and dirty...so they'll understand it."
Called "Old Blood and Guts," the controversial general commanded the U.S. forces in Europe during World War II and was considered a battlefield genius. His bold tank advance and daring assaults through France and Germany were instrumental in the Allied victory.
"A pint of sweat," he said, "saves a gallon of blood."
Immortalized on screen by George C. Scott in a great motion picture biography, the General, bound for glory, inspired others to accomplish the seemingly impossible. The effective leader demanded his men to "do more than is required of you."
Patton may have been colorful and eccentric, but he was brilliant as well. The Germans feared him more than any other and his men respected him. "Do as I have taught you," he told his troops, "and you will stay alive."
What a gift to be surprised by ingenuity!