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As an old tank driver (see my tank driver’s license above, issued at The U.S. Army Armor School in 1966), I took more than a passing interest in reading “Killing Patton,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (Henry Holt, 2014). The clear suggestion of the book is that the most famous U.S. armor general died not innocently in a roadside auto accident in Europe just after the end of WWII, but was secretly assassinated at the order of General Wild Bill Donovan, founder of the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, in league with the Soviet NKVD, precursor to the KGB of today.

Further reading on this long-ignored assassination theory suggests there are logical explanations that counter it, and maintain the official position that Patton’s death was strictly an accident. However, which ever way Patton died, it is clear that he perceived more clearly than most that the ailing Roosevelt was a weak negotiator with the ruthless Stalin, and too readily gave up Soviet control of much of eastern Europe, which remained in the Soviet block for a half century after the war, and changed the course of history. Just before his untimely death, Patton was about to resign from the Army and go public with his concerns about post-war Europe, which would obviously become an embarrassment or worse for the U.S. and British government.

That story, of equivocation by the American and British governments in the final days of World War II  and its immediate aftermath, and the resulting long-term costs in terms of lives and global power, is a story that the authors of “Killing Patton,” and now myself, believe is yet to be fully embraced by history. That, and the circumstances of his death, need more light.   .

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In all the years since I was nearly drafted into the Army following college graduation, and instead went into an accelerated program to become an Army officer at legendary Fort Knox, Kentucky, I’ve never met or corresponded with any of the soldiers I served with, not attended any veteran’s event. But in October, 2014, a unique reunion is being planned — a gathering of surviving graduates of the Armor Officer’s Candidate School I attended there in 66-67. That school was only in operation there for four years during the Vietnam War. I plan to attend that reunion, both to hopefully meet a few of those I trained with, and to visit again the grounds of the old Armor School, where I trained for 10 months and 10 days through the heat of a Kentucky summer and a wild winter. My exploits there and through two years of active duty, including a brief stint in Vietnam, are the subject of my essay, “All That Glitters,” presented two years ago before Chicago Literary Club. The essay can be found at http://www.chilit.org. Search under “List of Members” then my name then the title.

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