George S. Patton

Old Blood and Guts

Comment about Patton’s Football playing – page 256

Link – Patton Played

In July of 1950 across from the Library, the grounds were being
prepared for a new statue. I was in 6th New Cadet Company in Old South Barracks. Every day during Beast Barracks on our way to gorilla drills on the Plain, we could glance and see how the base for the new statue was progressing. Then came the first part of the installation, the gleaming bronze of George Patton in combat gear, field glasses at the ready and a pair of pearl pistols on his hips. He stool tall and trim, a magnificent sight. When it was completed for some reason, the platoon I was in was selected to be Honor Guard for the temporary dedication of Gen George Patton’s statue. I stood in the front ranks of the platoon staring straight ahead but taking upward glances. The ceremony was short. When the Corps returned some time later a formal dedication occurred.

Patton with a friend

In 1952/3 a Colonel in a riding military uniform complete with riding
boots was seen striding with a hitch in his get-along on sidewalk coming up from the Old Riding Hall. My Classmate said; “That is Colonel John K Waters, Patton’s son-in-law. He was captured at Kasserine Pass and was badly wounded in prison camp in a failed liberation.” General Patton never knew his son-in-law was in the German prison camp. After the war General Patton indicated that his only mistake during the campaign was his failure in not sending a larger combat force.

Back then the Riding Hall had not been converted and was stillcomplete
with horse stalls and a riding loop. Two to three times a week Col
Waters would be seen limping back from his ride. Patton was my favorite not just because a classmate’s dad, Gen Grow served under Patton but simply because of the stories I read as a young adult about Patton’s Olympic Medals. I researched Patton’s papers in the library and found a letter written to his Cadet son. Basically it said words to the effect,

“Study history because times may change but the actions and reactions of men never change.”

Looking back, how ironic. Col Waters going past Gen Patton’s statue
while we were constructing a West Point Victory Cannon made from a
German rocket cannon captured at Kasserine Pass. (Editor’s Note the Cannon was first used in the 1953 Army Duke Game)

Written by Jay Gould Class of 1954 – Army Cheer Leader

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