America's Greatest Maverick Leader
Three Keys to Patton's Maverick Leadership
I. Be Profane
Patton's modus operandi would never fly in today's politically correct public arena. First and foremost, the phrase, "He swore like a trooper," meant Patton. His everyday discourse was laced with four-letter words that were uttered as frequently and casually as today's teens and tweens use "like." As Charles M. Province, founder and proprietor of The Patton Society wrote in his fascinating book, "The Unknown Patton":
He could, when necessary, open up with both barrels and let forth such blue-flamed phrases that they seemed almost eloquent in their delivery. When asked by his nephew about his profanity, Patton remarked, "When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to some bunch of little old ladies at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can't run an army without profanity; and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight it's way out of a piss-soaked paper bag."
If you have seen the magnificent film "Patton," you will remember the opening where George C. Scott, in full dress regalia that included riding breeches and pearl-handled revolvers, stands in front a huge American flag and delivers "The Speech." It was powerful, yet sanitized by Hollywood. For the real thing, visit www.pattonhq.com/unknown/chap04.html.
If the gentlemen generals of today—John Abizaid, Peter Pace, Richard Myers or Colin Powell—delivered such a pep talk, the liberal media would call for a congressional investigation. (A corporate executive who used such language would be summarily fired.)
But Patton's men loved him. During World War II, if a newspaper reporter asked a soldier what unit he was in the response would be to name the army or corps. Ask a member of Third Army and he would say, "I'm with Patton."