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By Colonel Clark C. Barrett

Mental preparedness

My favorite (in bold), some may have read it, but it’s not among the traditional Patton favorites.

“. . . the successful cavalryman must educate himself to say Charge! I say educate himself, for the man is not born who can say it out of hand. . . . Civilization has affected us; we abhor personal encounter. Many a man will risk his life, with an easy mind, in a burning house, who recoils from having his face punched. . . . We have never felt our eyes screw up, our temples throb, and the red mist gather in our sight. And we expect that a man. . . shall. . . hurl himself on the enemy, a frenzied beast, lusting to probe his foeman’s guts with three feet of steel or shatter his brains with a bullet. Gentlemen, it cannot be done—not without mental practice.”

 -General George S. Patton

The Observer Controller (OC) Rules

When offered advice by a Combat Training Center OC these are your (only) three responses:

“That’s a good idea. I wish I’d thought of that. I’ll try that next time.”

-LTC (now MG Ret.) Tony Cucolo III, Battalion Commander of 3rd BN, 5th Cavalry RGT


“Ask for everything and expect nothing.”

-10th MTN SSG/Ranger Thompson (IIRC) training us as Beast Barracks cadets at West Point. He notably said he would have rather been in Honduras killing someone. He also taught us “TOPS – Take Other People’s Shit”…I like to think he meant to gently request much needed resources for my unit which were under-utilized elsewhere.


“Don’t ever love something that can’t love you back.”

-The IOBC Ranger/Captain/Chaplain was trying to tell us not to fall in love with the Army. I’ve done a poor job of listening.

Defense acquisitions and unrealistic expectations

Another lesser known Patton quote, I keep this one by my work desk.

“While in France in 1918, I was directed to report on the military value of a machine going by the euphonious name of the ‘moving fort and trench destroyer’. An elaborate set of blueprints accompanied the description of the horrid instrument. Those prints depicted a caterpillar propelled box of generous proportions covered with two inch armor and bearing in its bosom six ’75’s’, 20 machine guns, and a flame thrower while in the middle was a rectangular box 6 by 3 by 2 feet in size with the pathetic epitaph ‘engine not yet devised’. I do not know if atom bursting was known at that date, but if it was, I feel certain that an engine actuated by that sort of power must have been intended as no other form of power occupying so small a space could have propelled the 200 tons of estimated weight of the ‘fort’.”

-General George S. Patton

Evolutionary vs. revolutionary change

“It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps.”

-American Proverb, author unknown.

Continuous learning and bushido

“It is essential to engrave this business of the warrior into one’s mind well…. One should put forth great effort in matters of learning. One should read books concerning military matters, and direct his attention exclusively to the virtues of loyalty and filial piety….Having been born into the house of a warrior, the samurai’s intentions should be to grasp the long and the short swords and to earn a good death.”

-Kato Kiyomasa