Nathan C. Jones, a curator at Gen. George Patton's Cadillac at
Fort Knox, Ky., regales people with tales of Gen. George S. Patton
and his ivory handled pistols, during the Chicago Auto Show at the
McCormick Place Convention Center on February 7, 2012. The interior
of the car is original to the 1938 model that Patton was riding in
fatally injured in a traffic accident in Germany, Dec. 9, 1945. U.S.
Army photo by Capt. Olivia Cobiskey
CHICAGO, IL (2/21/2012) – Gen. George S. Patton was
Looking out the window at the
destruction along the road in Germany, he spoke to Maj. Gen.
Hobart Gay - his chief of staff when he commanded the Third
Army - about the waste of war.
He did not see the 2.5
ton truck driven by Tech. Sgt. Robert L. Thompson.
Perhaps he did not hear Gay, or Pfc. Horace Woodring, the
driver, telling him to brace himself.
As the truck
collided with the staff car, the 6-foot 3-inch Patton was
thrown forward. He hit his forehead on a clock mounted on
the rear of the front seat. At first, it looked like he only
had minor cuts; however, at the hospital in Heidelberg
doctors discovered Patton had broken his neck and was
paralyzed. On Dec. 21, 1945, he died of a pulmonary
“That's the tragedy,” said Nathan C.
Jones, a curator at The Gen. George Patton Museum at Fort
Knox, Ky. “He made it through two bloody wars only to get
killed in a car accident.”
Not to be clich�, said
Jones, but perhaps it was just his time. Or maybe it was for
the best, he added. Patton already had his orders, he was
going to fly to the U.S. on Dec. 10 and retire.
“Could you imagine Patton not in the Army?” asked Jones, a
veteran of the 10st Airborne Division, who was in the
initial push into Baghdad in 2003.
Then, adding a
little brevity, he said, “I wonder if Gen. Patton is rolling
over in his grave knowing an infantryman is curating his
Regardless of the rivalry between the
infantry and cavalry, Patton is one of the people Jones
would choose if he could pick five people dead or alive to
talk to. And he was excited to be able to share his love for
Patton, who he called “a living contradiction,” in February
with people at the Chicago Auto Show at the McCormick Place
It's not surprising the first time the
infamous 1938 Series 75 Cadillac left the museum it visited
Chicago. One of Patton's first assignments as a second
lieutenant was at Fort Sheridan, north of the city, Jones
“This is the one he had the wreck in?” asked
Charles Tashiro, 46, of Greenwood, Ind.
answered, “Yes,” while nodding his head.
said Tashiro, and who then called across the exhibit to his
wife, Kelley, 45. “This is the one, this is the one.”
Tashiro, who graduated from basic training in 1986 at
Fort Knox, Ky., said it meant a lot to see the museum making
an effort to bring more visibility to the history of the
“This is so cool,” Tashiro said.
Connie Panek, 66, of Schaumburg, Ill., was also thrilled.
“To see this in person is a once in a lifetime
opportunity,” said Panek, chief financial officer of an
automotive group in Naperville, Ill. of the Cadillac. “It's
probably one of the most exciting things to see here at the
Capt. Brandon Sellers, 31, operations officer
for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Chicago, said the
1938 Cadillac offered a perfect juxtaposition to the
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math van.
marks the sixth year the Chicago Army Recruiting Battalion
has participated at the show, which ran from Feb. 10-19.
“Patton is one of the most highly recognized and
colorful leaders of our past. To share his story with the
new soldiers, the future of the Army, is another wonderful
opportunity the Army Reserve and the Army offers here at the
auto show,” Sellers said.
For more information about
Patton and the museum, go to
More photos available below
By Army Capt. Olivia Cobiskey
318th Public Affairs Operations Center
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