December 21, 1945
GENERAL PATTON DIES IN GERMANY
Heidelberg, Germany (JFK+50) U.S. Army General George S. Patton, “Old Blood & Guts,” died today in a military hospital here in Heidelberg.
The cause of death was pulmonary edema & congestive heart failure that followed a severe injury to his head sustained in an automobile accident on December 9.
General Patton was a rear seat passenger in a car that was struck by a 2.5 ton truck.
Patton was on his way to a hunting trip at the time of the accident.
Although the car crash at 1st glance seemed minor, General Patton’s head had struck a metal part of a partition that separated the front & rear seats causing a severe cervical spinal cord injury.
When he arrived at the hospital, Patton reportedly said: “Jesus Christ, what a way to start a leave.”
George S. Patton was born into a military family in San Gabriel, California in 1885. He attended V.M.I. & graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909.
Patton served in WWI where he organized the American tank school in France.
He won the Distinguished Service Cross & Distinguished Service Medal.
General Patton won fame in WWII & in 1944 became commander of the U.S. Third Army which “advanced further, captured more prisoners & liberated more territory in less time than any other army in history.”*
Patton & Lt.Col. Lyle Bernard
Near Brolo, Sicily
“Patton & His Third Army” by Brenton G. Wallace (1946)
In a speech to his soldiers before their landing in Sicily, General Patton said:
“When we land against the enemy, don’t forget to hit him & hit him hard. When we meet the enemy we will kill him. We will show him no mercy. He has killed thousands of your comrades & he must die!”**
**On December 22, 1945, 7th Army General Orders 635 said:
“With deep regret, announcement is made of the death of General George S. Patton, Jr. Probably no soldier has had a greater compliment paid to him than that given (Patton) by his most powerful & skilled opponents. He was termed the ablest American field commander by the German army on any front.”***
***In an interview for “Stars & Stripes” just after his capture, Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt said: “Patton….is your best!”
An honor guard of 6000 GIs stood at attention as Patton’s body was taken from the hospital to the railroad station for transport for burial.
Grave of General George S. Patton
Hamm, Luxemburg (2006)
Photo by Michel Dieleman
An excellent source of information on Patton can be found at www.generalpatton.org, the General George Patton Museum of Leadership at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
December 21, 1961
JFK MEETS WITH MACMILLAN IN BERMUDA
Bermuda, British West Indies (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy met here in Bermuda today with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss world issues including atmospheric nuclear tests, the Congo & Berlin.
Upon arrival at Kindley Air Force Base, JFK was greeted by the Prime Minister & Sir Julian Gascoigne, Governor General of Bermuda.
The meetings are taking place at Government House.
December 21, 1962
JFK & MACMILLAN SIGN NASSAU PACT
Nassau (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy & British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan signed the Nassau Pact here today.
The two leaders of the Free World agreed to the abandonment of the troubled Skybolt missile project.
They also agreed to the sale of submarine-based Polaris missiles by the United States to Great Britain as well as the creation of a nuclear force within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization supported by the French.