Usually, getting supplies for the troops who would join the war is a long process: the equipment’s value has to be justified, the budget has to be approved, and there is even bidding on which company would be allowed to produce and supply the equipment. However, that was not the case when World War II broke out, and the US was not so prepared for it yet. Thankfully, the extremely wealthy and controversial General George Patton had his trusty supplier of equipment that he bought using his own money: Sears.

General Patton’s Wealth

George Smith Patton Jr. was born on November 11, 1885, in the suburb of San Gabriel, California, to an exceptionally rich family with a deep military history. Having an ancestry that contained Welsh aristocrats and some connection to the British monarchy, as well as indirect relations to George Washington, he only knew a life of privilege. This even increased when he married Beatrice Banning Ayer, the daughter of Frederick Ayer, a Boston industrialist whose family was also rolling in dough.

Even though he had trouble with spelling and reading as a kid(probably undiagnosed dyslexia), that did not stop Patton from getting a first-rate education. Patton went to the Virginia Military Institute and was a model cadet though not a very good student.  He managed to secure an appointment to the United State Military Academy where he had to repeat his first year. He would end up graduating 40th in a class of over 100. His fascination with military history saw him become an expert on warfare, and he even wrote extensive works on his topic. He participated in the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Summer Games as a Modern Pentathlon specialist, where he finished 5th place overall. Apart from that, he became an expert in fencing, and he used his knowledge to design a new sword for the US cavalry.

George S. Patton Jr. gains attention by competing in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. (The Los Angeles Times via newspapers.com)

When the United States entered the scene of WWI, he accompanied John Pershing and the American Expeditionary Force on their journey to Europe. There, he discovered his passion for tanks and their huge potential in warfare.