There are apparently two types of successful soldiers. Those who get on being unobtrusive and those who get on by being obtrusive….One has to choose a system and stick to it. People who are not themselves are nobody.
To be a successful soldier you must know history….What you must know is how man reacts. Weapons change, but man who uses them changes not at all. To win battles you do not beat weapons, you beat the soul of man of the enemy man….War is simple. Decide what would hurt the enemy most within the limits of your capabilities to harm him and then do it. Take calculated risks.
I am sure that if every leader who goes into battle will promise himself that he will come out either a conqueror or a corpse, he is sure to win. There is no doubt of that. Defeat is not due to losses but to the destruction of the soul of the leaders. The “live to fight another day” doctrine.
The most vital quality a soldier can possess is self-confidence—utter complete and bumptious. You can have doubts about your good looks, your intelligence, but to win in war you must have no doubts about your ability as a soldier.
Soldiers are natural hero worshipers. Officers with a flair for command realize this and emphasize in their conduct, dress and deportment—the qualities they seek to produce in their men….The influence one man can have on thousands is a never ending source of wonder to me. You are always on parade.
—Gen. George S. Patton
Letter to his son George at West Point on D-Day
(Pictured above with his wife Beatrice and son George)