In life he was called “Old Blood and Guts.” His death has been a subject of mystery and intrigue.
Although his commanding style was domineering, some might say bullying, and he had some definite anger management issues, General Patton was a devoted dog lover.
He bought the first of many Bull Terriers for his daughters just after World War I. Although Tank turned out to be totally deaf, he always somehow knew when General Patton was to arrive home and met him at the front door.
He bought the famous Willie in 1944 and wrote about him:
…my bull pup . . . took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin [sic] on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper. . .
Willie was devoted to the general and followed him everywhere. General Patton doted on Willie and even threw a birthday party for him.
The general wrote in his diary on July 15th, 1944 "Willie is crazy about me and almost has a fit when I come back to camp. He snores too and is company at night.”
On his encounter with General Patton and Willie, cartoonist Bill Mauldlin wrote
Beside him, lying in a big chair was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever dog was suited to master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss's expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I'd ever seen.
Willie was sent home to live out the rest of his life as the beloved dog of a fallen warrior with the general’s wife and daughters.
This picture of Willie, a lost little dog, was taken a few days after the general’s death as preparations were made to send home his effects.
A book, Target: Patton: The Plot to Assassinate General George S. Patton, published in 2008, claims that General Patton was murdered to keep him from revealing secrets that would have ruined important careers and changed history.
…after a decade-long investigation, military historian Robert Wilcox claims that OSS head General "Wild Bill" Donovan ordered a highly decorated marksman called Douglas Bazata to silence Patton…Source
The OSS was the wartime intelligence agency of the United States, the predecessor of the CIA.
A 12-foot high bronze statue of Patton and Willie stands today at the General Patton Memorial Museum thirty miles east of Indio, California.