According to Charles M. Province, founder of the George S. Patton Jr. Historical Society and author of several books about General Patton under whom he served with great pride, George Smith Patton Jr. (1885–1945) was a man of many—even self-contradictory—ways: “He was a noted horseman and polo player, a well-known champion swordsman, and a competent sailor and sportsman . . . an amateur poet . . . a rough and tough soldier . . . a thoughtful and sentimental man. Unpredictable in his actions, [yet] always dependable . . . outgoing, yet introverted.” Hailing from a military family that traced its lineage back well beyond the American Revolution, Patton was already determined during childhood to become a hero. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909, he received a commission in the United States Army and never left it. He began as a cavalryman and swordsman, but soon became aide to General John J. Pershing, first in Mexico and then in World War I in Europe. There he became an early expert in a new form of battle machine—the tank—which he later used to full effectiveness as commander of the Third Army during World War II.