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2014, Aaron Elson


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Arnold Brown

2014, Aaron Elson

    Retired Colonel Arnold L. Brown of Owensboro, Ky., was a company commander in the 90th Infantry Division. I interviewed him on Sept. 8 of this year, just a few months shy of his 80th birthday. This is the second in a series of incidents he described.

    After the Normandy breakout, the armored forces were pursuing the Germans twenty to thirty miles a day, some days more than that, and we in the infantry were trying to keep up. So we were marching down the road, single file, on each side of the road, and here comes a jeep down the road. My first sergeant said, "Do you know who that is?"

    I said, "No."

    He said, "That’s General Patton."

    Well, I’d heard a lot about General Patton but I’d never met him. I didn’t realize I was getting ready to get acquainted with him. But he got right even with G Company, and he said, "Driver, stop here."

    I thought, I don’t see how anything could be wrong. My biggest responsibility at that time was keeping stragglers up. In our battalion march order I was the rearmost company, so stragglers, some of those from other companies straggled way back here, and some from my company, so I’m trying to keep these stragglers moving along, and General Patton said, "Who’s the blankety blank commanding officer of this blankety blank outfit?" You can fill in the blanks.

    At that time I was hoping the Germans would start shelling us so I could jump in a hole. And then I was thinking, well, if he relieves me of my command, with the experiences I’ve had in the past, he’d be doing me a favor. Anyhow, I stepped out and reported to him and said, "I am, Sir."

    And he looked me over a little bit and made a few comments. He didn’t chew me out or anything, and just drove on. It was just his way of letting everybody know that he’s in charge of things and he’s up there. So I’m one of those who could brag about being chewed out by General Patton.

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