A Tradition of Leadership throughout the Patton Family Tree

A Message from Chairman of the Board, Dick Chegar

On the Bookshelf

Reflections: Recollections of Being Freed from a POW Camp

In Honor of Patton's Birthday

Editor: Ellen Birkett Morris

L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!

A Tradition of Leadership throughout the Patton Family Tree

While General Patton’s leadership is legendary, many people are unaware of the remarkable legacy of service that runs through all lines of the family. Here we provide a look at the leadership, service and accomplishments of the Waters, Holbrook and Totten branches of the family.

General John Knight Waters

Returning to West Point for his twentieth reunion, General George Patton asked friends to select “the best cadet” to accompany his daughter Bea on a date. The friends selected John Knight Waters.

Waters got the girl, and a long distinguished military career. He retired from the Army in 1966 as a Four-Star General, after serving as military aide to Secretary of War Robert Patterson, Commander of several armored units in the U.S. and Korea, Commanding General of the Continental Army Command, Commandant of Cadets at West Point and Commander of the U.S. Army of the Pacific.

“Service was his life. He believed it was the best thing he had to give since he was not a rich man,” said his son, George Patton Waters, who served in the Navy for five years reaching the rank of Lieutenant. His brother,John K. Waters Jr., served in the Army for 15 years and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

General Patton
General John Knight Waters

“I learned the importance of dedication to success. My father said that to succeed you need to look for the opportunity and make it happen. You should do more than expected,” said Waters.

John Knight Waters began his career at West Point after spending two years at Johns Hopkins, where he thought he might become a doctor. He thrived in the rigorous environment at West Point, becoming first captain of the Corp of Cadets. He also excelled at sports. He loved polo and was an All-American hockey player and alternate to the U.S. Olympic team for the 1934 games at Lake Placid.

While serving as a Lieutenant Colonel commanding a tank unit in combat in Tunisia, Waters was captured by the Germans and sent to a POW camp. While in the camp, Waters served as a senior officer, imposing order on the 1,500 men by getting them into uniform and conducting a twice daily formation.

“He held these guys together in a hostile environment while they were tired and hungry. Under his influence they became soldiers again. He didn’t talk about his time there much, but he got the Distinguished Service Cross for his time as a POW,” said Waters.

The camp changed locations, eventually settling in Hammelburg, Germany. Waters spent two years, two months and ten days as a POW. As the war drew to a close, an American task force, under orders by General Patton, attempted to liberate the camp. They were eventually routed.

Waters and other officers were attempting white flag surrender when German SS troops shot Waters, seriously wounding him. He was taken for dead, and removed from a body bag only after someone noticed it moving.

A week later the camp was liberated by American forces. Col. Waters had a yearlong recovery before returning to duty.

Waters’ career came full circle when he returned for a time to his beloved West Point serving as Commandant of Cadets.

In this role, he would review the Corps led by the Corp Captain, a position he once proudly held.

In 1952, Waters left this post to serve in North Korea. Thirty days after he departed for North Korea Bea Patton died. He later married Anne McAlpin McKinley.

Waters went on to an exemplary career that earned him the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart with Clusters, the Knight Commander Order of the British Empire and the Croix de Guerre with Palm. He retired in 1966, after 35 years of service, as a full General, having last served as Commander of the U.S. Army of the Pacific.

“He was a good student of General Patton. He believed, as Patton did, that if you take good care of your men they will take good care of you,” said Waters.

John Knight Waters died at age 82 in 1989. At his burial, fellow POWs were in tears as they dropped red roses onto his casket, and said a final goodbye.

Holbrook and Herr

When General Patton’s son, George Smith Patton, married Joanne Holbrook she brought a military lineage of impressive proportions.

“When people asked if I was intimidated marrying into the Patton family I would say no. As a younger man General Patton worked for Major General John K. Herr (her maternal grandfather), who referred to him as ‘that young whippersnapper,’ and for Major General Willard A. Holbrook (her paternal grandfather), First Chief of the Cavalry,” said Joanne Holbrook Patton.

Willard Ames Holbrook, First Chief of the Cavalry, served in the Southwest, West Coast, and the Philippines. As a Major in the 38th United States Infantry, he helped quell an insurrection in the Philippines. During 1901 and 1902, he was Civil Governor of the province of Antique Panay in the Philippines. General Holbrook received the Distinguished Service Medal for his firmness and tact in handling a threatening situation on the Mexican border while he was in command of the Southern Department during World War I.

General Patton
Major General Willard Ames Holbrook

General Patton
Major General Willard Ames Holbrook, Jr.

As a lieutenant, Holbrook married Anna Stanley, a well known American painter, who died at 42 when Joanne Patton’s father, Willard Ames Holbrook, Jr., was only eight. Anna Stanley’s father, David Sloane Stanley, was a general who had been awarded a Medal of Honor in the Civil War and who went on to head the Yellowstone Expedition.

Willard Ames Holbrook, Jr., would graduate from West Point. During World War II, he was with the 11th Armored Division as a Combat Commander during the Battle of the Bulge. He won a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for his service. Holbrook personally accepted the surrender of Linz, Austria, and raised the American flag over the Nazi stronghold. The same flag would cover General George S. Patton, Jr. at his funeral.

Joanne Patton’s maternal grandfather was Major General John K. Herr, the last Chief of Cavalry. Commissioned in the Cavalry, he was assigned to the famous 7th Cavalry Regiment, which fought in several campaigns in the Indian Wars.

General Patton
Major General John K. Herr in a combat car

Herr’s career included service with the Army occupation forces in Germany, War Department Staff duty, service schooling, instructor duty, and tactical assignments. In 1923, Herr was a key member of the four-man U.S. Army Polo Team that defeated the British Army for the world military championship. As the last Chief of Cavalry, he advocated a structure that blended the use of motor vehicles and horses.

General Patton
Major General John K. Herr

Herr was married to Helen Hoyle, daughter of Brigadier General Eli D. Hoyle, and granddaughter of General Rene E. DeRussy. DeRussy was an engineer responsible for the building of military forts. Fort DeRussy bears his name. His father was a French Naval officer who had served on a ship supporting John Paul Jones during the American Revolution.

A Long Line of Tottens

General Patton’s daughter Ruth Ellen married into a family with a long and distinguished history in the military. Ruth Ellen Patton married James W. Totten, a career army officer who rose to the rank of Major-General, and whose forefathers had served for generations.

Their son Colonel Michael W. Totten, now deceased, also served, including a stint as Military Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria. Their son James Patton Totten, shares the family legacy of service. He served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1983 and in the Army Reserve from 1983 to 1994. His honors include a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. When he retired from service there had been a James Totten on active duty since 1841.

The tradition of service began with James Gilbert Totten, for whom Fort Totten in New York is named. He graduated from West Point in 1805 and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.

He resigned for a brief period to assist his uncle in surveying the Northwest territories. Totten returned to the engineering corps two years later, and began his career as a military engineer under Colonel Jonathan Williams. He worked on the construction of Castle Williams and Fort Clinton in New York harbor and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

During the war of 1819, he served as Chief Engineer of the Army under General Stephen Van Rensselaer on the Niagara frontier, and participated in the battle of Queenstown.

Totten was transferred, as Chief Engineer, to the Army of the North under General Dearborn to aid in the capture of Fort George and to turn away a British Flotilla on Lake Ontario. He earned the brevet of Major for his meritorious service.

In 1814, he became the Chief Engineer of the forces on the Champlain line of operations, which was engaged in the defense of Plattsburg, which he had fortified. His conduct in Plattsburg gained him promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel.

At the end of the war, he served chiefly at Newport, Rhode Island, where he worked on the construction of Fort Adams. In 1838, he was appointed Colonel and Chief Engineer of the United States Army.

He was also entrusted with the supervision of the United States Military Academy. At the beginning of the Mexican war he was called by General Winfield Scott to take charge of the engineering operations of the army that was to invade Mexico. Totten directed the siege of Vera Cruz, for which he was brevetted Brigadier-General.

The Patton family tree is enriched by its remarkable legacy of leadership and service, the echoes of which reach us today as we strive to honor our men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“People asked me how I could stand to have my husband criticized in the press during his time in Vietnam. We were fortunate enough to have been raised in service families and understood that this is an honorable career, and that there would be good times and bad times, but that it was a privilege to be part of it,” said Joanne Holbrook Patton.

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A Message from the Chairman of the Board

Patton’s Third Army remembers December, 1944 much as we are enduring the winter of 2010 -11 as “cold and snowy.” Regardless of your location, please keep your prayers and thoughts on our American soldiers and Marines engaged in the hostile, cold, snowy mountains of Afghanistan. They are in harm’s way in the most challenging of environments, far away from our comfortable surroundings!

As you will recall, our Patton Museum will be closed for the first three months of 2011, scheduled to reopen on April 1, 2011, provided the planned refurbishments go as scheduled. This is the most extensive expenditure by the United States Army on the Patton Museum in its history. I think you will be most interested in some of the changes taking place as we transition from the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor to the General George Patton Museum of Leadership.

With a budget of $1.25 million, there is first and foremost an emphasis on the physical structure itself. There will be a new roof installed as well as extensive exterior repairs to the building. The front entrance will be remodeled along with improved exterior lighting to enhance the museum’s appearance and security.

In the interior, the major emphasis will be on safety with a new fire suppression system throughout the facility. Complementing the new roof will be repairs and improvements to the interior ceiling.

Both visitors and meeting participants will be very pleased with a major renovation in the museum auditorium where a new state-of-the-art audio/visual system will significantly improve the quality of activities in this well-used portion of the museum.

While these enhancements will provide our visitors with a vastly improved facility, the most exciting changes in the museum will be the new exhibits that are part of the rebranding of the museum with an emphasis on leadership and the history of Fort Knox. Complementing the new exhibits will be upgrades in exhibit lighting. We all look forward to viewing the transformed General George Patton Museum of Leadership.

Meanwhile, the Foundation’s leadership initiative, Legendary Leadership, has a significant opportunity to move beyond the pilot stage in February. Our team of educators, Cindy Carter and Thad Elmore, students from TK Stone Middle School in Elizabethtown, along with Trustee, Mike Harper, will present our Leader In Me program to the Kentucky Boards of Education Association Conference in February to be held in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

In the meantime, we trust that you are staying warm!

L’ Audace!

Dick Chegar
Chairman of the Board

P.O. Box 25 • Fort Knox, Kentucky 40121
Tel 502-943-8977 • Fax 502-942-0033 • 1-888-212-6767
Your tax deductible contributions to the Patton Museum are made through the Patton Museum Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization.

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On the Bookshelf

Recommended Reading

Looking for a great read that will expand your knowledge of General Patton and military history? Friends of the museum offer suggested reading each month. This month we feature the selections of Christopher Kolakowski, Director of the General George Patton Museum.

The Patton Papers
Martin Blumenson
This collection is an outstanding glimpse into the complex person that was George Patton and the life he led. Blumenson's work is a standard resource on Patton that has stood the test of time.

The Guns of August
Barbara Tuchman
This is a compelling story told in a fluid and readable manner. The book offers many lessons about leadership, armies, war, and how circumstances and events can sometimes take on a life of their own. A classic.

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant
U.S. Grant
This work has been hailed as the greatest military writing since Caesar's Commentaries - a view I endorse. It is a well-written, frank, and revealing remembrance of General Grant's career and experiences during the Civil War. It offers many lessons on a personal and a professional level.

But Not In Shame
John Toland
Toland offers a highly readable and personal account of the first six months of the Pacific War from Pearl Harbor to Midway from both sides. I first read this book in high school and have read it several times since. It is a gripping account of the Japanese offensives and the valiant (often futile) Allied efforts to resist them.

Command Missions
Lucian Truscott
I recently read this book, but have quickly come to regard it as one of the finest senior commander memoirs of World War II. Wellwritten, Truscott offers good information and frank discussions of the people and events he came in contact with. It is an important source to understand him, what he did, and the nature of high command in the Army.

I Saw the Fall of the Philippines
John Toland
(published in the UK as Last Man Off Bataan). A great memoir of Bataan and Corregidor by a Filipino participant in MacArthur's HQ. Although hyperbolic in places, it is an outstanding account of that campaign and how it affected the US and Filipino soldiers on a human level.

It Doesn't Take a Hero
H. Norman Schwarzkopf
The first time I read this I literally could not put it down. It is an intimate memoir that plumbs depths that few memoirs go. Schwarzkopf offers good information and frank discussions of the people and events he came in contact with in this well-written book. It is an important source to understand him, what he accomplished, the Gulf War, and the nature of command in the Army.

Berlin 1945
Antony Beevor
Beevor is doing some of the most cutting-edge World War II research, and this book is a thought-provoking new appraisal of the death of Nazi Germany. He offers new details and perspectives based on opened Russian sources in a readable and personal fashion. Highly recommended.

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Readers Share Recollections on General Patton

Robert L. Monson of South Jordan, Utah, shared his recollections of being freed from a POW camp in Germany. Here is an excerpt of his letter along with selections from a history of the POW Camp Stalag VII-A in Moosburg Germany written by Martin Braun of Moosburg that Mr. Monson provided.

I am an 85 year old World War II veteran, who flew 15 bombing missions over Nazi Germany in a B-24 bomber. General George S. Patton and his 3rd Army rescued and freed me and 200,000 other men and women interned as Prisoner’s of War in Moosburg Germany in May of 1945. General Patton is my greatest American hero!. . . He deserves more recognition than he got from this country that he loved so much.

Sincerely and Thank You,
Richard L. Monson
Formerly of the 15AF in Italy

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Excerpts from a History of the Liberation of POW Camp Stalag VII-A in Moosburg Germany By Martin Braun.

The 47th had split into two columns, one led by Major Kircher, our S-3, and the other by Colonel Lann, our commander, and Gen. Karlstad went into the city with the 47th. Gen. Karlstad, the Combat Command Commander, picked up a German officer as guide, and with Lt. Joseph Luby took off for the prison camp.

The jeep was mounted with a .30-caliber machine gun; as it swung up, there were several score of armed German guards outside. Luby rolled into their midst, his jeep stopped, and with his hand on his gun called: “Achtung!” The group surrendered.

General Smith, the Division Commander, arrived at the camp shortly thereafter. An American flag was raised at the church steeple. . . The defenses crumbled. The 600-man 47th Tank Battalion took 2,000 prisoners; the 600-man 94th Reconnaissance Squadron took 2,000 more. Division total for the day was set at 12,000.

Scenes of the wildest rejoicing accompanied the tanks as they crashed through the double 10-foot wire fences of the prison camps. There were men and women from every nation in the camp. All combined to give the 14th Armored Division the most incredible welcome it ever received. The tanks were slowed to five miles an hour as they went through the camps – the press of men in front of them was so great. Men, some of them prisoners five years, some American Air Corps men prisoners three years, cried and shouted and patted the tanks.

“You damned bloody Yanks, I love you!” shouted a six-foot four Australian. A weary bearded American paratrooper climbed on a tank and kissed the tank commander. Tears streamed from his cheeks. . . Italians and Serbs, tired and drawn, jammed around the vehicles eagerly thrusting out their hands to touch their liberators, weeping. An Army Air Corp Lieutenant kissed a tank. “God Damn, do I love the ground forces,” he said.

There were unexpected reunions; TEC/5 Floyd Mahoney of C-Company freed his own son, a Lieutenant in the Air Corps.

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In Honor of Patton’s Birthday

In honor of the 125th Anniversary of General Patton’s birth last November, supporters of the museum offered these sentiments:

A General who would not ask of you anything he wouldn't do himself; A man of great strength and great discipline, as needed. He accomplished his missions.

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A man of courage and military brilliance who overcame his personal handicap to become a great leader – and with God's help.

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He was courageous and Honorable and there when discipline was needed to win the war. The Best in his field. God Bless him.

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General Patton served his country in the finest tradition in the U.S. Army. His method of warfare saved thousands of lives and liberated North Africa and most of Europe during WWII My Dad was proud to serve with him in Tunesia, 1943.

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How can you not admire a military commander who didn't want to take the same real estate twice? How do you spell American — George Patton.

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He was an outspoken "Working General." He did the job! He never ordered the men to do what he would not. A real soldier and man!

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