George S. Patton served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for 36 years. He served in three major conflicts (Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War I and World War II) during his military career.
1st award - 26 September 1918;
CITATION: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel (Armor) George Smith Patton, Jr. (ASN: 0-2605), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Tank Corps, A.E.F., near Cheppy, France, 26 September 1918. Colonel Patton displayed conspicuous courage, coolness, energy, and intelligence in directing the advance of his brigade down the valley of the Aire. Later he rallied a force of disorganized infantry and led it forward, behind the tanks, under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire until he was wounded. Unable to advance further, Colonel Patton continued to direct the operations of his unit until all arrangements for turning over the command were completed.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 133 (1918)
2nd award - 19 August 1943;
SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant General George Smith Patton, Jr. (ASN: 0-2605), United States Army, was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding General of the 7th Army, in action against enemy forces on 11 July 1943. Lieutenant General Patton's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 7th Army, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army-North African Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 80
|1st Row||Distinguished Service Cross
with one oak leaf cluster
|Army Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters||Navy Distinguished Service Medal||Silver Star|
with one oak leaf cluster
|2nd Row||Legion of Merit||Bronze Star Medal||Purple Heart||Silver Lifesaving Medal |
|3rd Row||Mexican Border Service Medal||World War I Victory Medal
with four bronze campaign stars
|American Defense Service Medal||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal|
with one silver and two bronze campaign stars
|4th Row||World War II Victory Medal||Army of Occupation Medal
with "Germany" clasp (posthumous)
|Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold with palm (Belgium)||Croix de Guerre with palm (Belgium)|
|5th Row||Military Order of the White Lion, Grand cross
|Czechoslovak War Cross
|Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor
|Croix de Guerre, 1914–1918|
with bronze star (France)
|6th Row||Croix de Guerre, 1939–1945
|French Liberation Medal (1947) (posthumous)||Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
|Luxembourg War Cross|
|7th Row||Grand Cross of Ouissam Alaouite
|Order of Kutuzov
|British Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath||Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)|
|No insignia||Cadet||United States Military Academy||July 1, 1905|
|No insignia in 1909||Second Lieutenant||15th Cavalry, Regular Army||June 11, 1909|
|First Lieutenant||10th Cavalry, Regular Army||May 23, 1916|
|Captain||Cavalry, Regular Army||May 15, 1917|
|Major||Cavalry, Temporary||January 26, 1918|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Tank Corps, National Army||April 3, 1918 |
|Colonel||Tank Corps, Regular Army||October 17, 1918|
|Captain||Cavalry, Regular Army||June 30, 1920 |
(Discharged and recommissioned.)
|Major||Cavalry, Regular Army||July 1, 1920|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Cavalry, Regular Army||March 1, 1934|
|Colonel||Cavalry, Regular Army||July 24, 1938|
|Brigadier General||Army of the United States||October 2, 1940|
|Major General||Army of the United States||April 4, 1941|
|Lieutenant General||Army of the United States||March 12, 1943|
|Brigadier General||Regular Army (bypassed)||August 16, 1944 |
|Major General||Regular Army||August 16, 1944 |
|Lieutenant General||Regular Army||December 4, 1944|
|General||Army of the United States||April 14, 1945|
George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a General of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
Born in 1885 to a family with an extensive military background that spanned both the United States and Confederate States armies, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the "Patton Saber", and was sufficiently skilled in the sport of modern pentathlon to compete in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, taking part in America's first military action using motor vehicles. As part of the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces he saw action in World War I, commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of the Army's armored warfare doctrine, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. Rising through the ranks, he commanded the 2nd Armored Division at the time of the American entry into World War II.
Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, and soon established himself as an effective commander through his rapid rehabilitation of the demoralized U.S. II Corps. He commanded the U.S. Seventh Army during the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he was the first Allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers under his command, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command. He then was assigned a key role in Operation Fortitude, the Allies' disinformation campaign for Operation Overlord. Following the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, Patton was given command of the Third Army, which conducted a highly successful rapid armored drive across France. Under his decisive leadership the Third Army took the lead in relieving beleaguered American troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, after which his forces drove deep into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.
During the Allied occupation of Germany Patton was named military governor of Bavaria, but was relieved over his aggressive statements towards the Soviet Union and trivializing denazification. He commanded the United States Fifteenth Army for slightly more than two months. Severely injured in an auto accident, he died in Germany twelve days later, on December 21, 1945.
Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front and ability to inspire troops with attention-getting, vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as a famous address to the Third Army, met with mixed receptions, favorably with his troops but much less so among a sharply divided Allied high command. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved effective, and he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. An award-winning biographical film released in 1970, Patton, helped solidify his image as an American folk hero.