General George Smith Patton Jr. was a senior officer of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean and European theaters of World War II, but is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
Born in 1885 to a family with an extensive military background, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He studied fencing and designed the M1913 Cavalry Saber, more commonly known as the "Patton Sword", and partially due to his skill in the sport, he competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, taking part in America's first military action using motor vehicles. He later joined the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces and saw action in World War I, commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of armored warfare doctrine in the U.S.