George Smith Patton Jr. was born in San Gabriel, California on
November 11, 1885. Although his father, a graduate of VMI, pursued a career in law rather than the military his families military background goes back to the American Revolutionary War.
As a child he was a devoted horseback rider and became an avid reader. He paid particular attention to the exploits of Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Scipio Africanus as well as family friend John Singleton Mosby.
Patton never considered a career other than the military and in 1902 wrote a letter to Sen. Bard for a recommendation to the United States Military Academy. Afraid he would do poorly on the entrance exam, he decided to apply to universities with Reserve Officer’s Training Corps programs. He attended Virginia Military Institute from 1903 to 1904. He excelled in uniform appearance inspection and military drill. In 1904 he passed the entrance exam and Sen. Bard recommended him for West Point.
He fit right into the routine and continued to show exceptional
prowess in military drill. His academic skills were not as well honed however and he had to repeat his first year. He would overcome this and become cadet sergeant major his junior year and cadet adjutant his senior year. He was also a member of the fencing and track and field teams. He graduated ranking 46 of 103 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the cavalry on June 11, 1909. Continue reading