The greatest battlefield commander of the modern age was, by most accounts, General George S. Patton. His understanding of military history, instinctive grasp of technological innovation, and dogged determination rightly cemented his place among the greatest military leaders of all time.
He also had a bit of a temper that got him into trouble on more than one occasion. Two famous incidents in 1943 nearly ended his career when he slapped two soldiers in Sicily, accusing them of cowardice.
Only a fool would dare run the risk of offending the legendary Patton temper. In his book Patton: The Man Behind the Legend, 1885-1945, Martin Blumenson tells about a less-publicized display of Patton passion prior to World War II.
George took his wife, Beatrice, to a formal dinner party at DuPont Circle in Washington, DC. As the couple entered, they were a dashing sight, with Bea in her beautiful gown and George resplendent in his dress uniform and medals.
Not everyone was impressed, however. An inebriated man was seated near the entrance and mumbled an offensive comment about “fake war heroes.” This was too much for the hot-blooded Patton who dove at the man, knocking him off his chair. The two then rolled around on the floor, as Patton pummeled the man repeatedly on the face.
The shocking scene ended only when Patton was pulled off of the beaten man — by her husband.
You see, the infamous Patton temper was not the exclusive property of the man who would be remembered as “Old Blood and Guts.” It took a woman of incredibly strong will to be married to such a man.
The Patton who was a general once said, “It is better to fight for something than to live for nothing.” The Patton who was married to him agreed and thought that one thing that was definitely worth fighting for was her husband’s honor.