Military Anecdote of the Day

General George S. Patton
General George S. Patton

When inclement weather delayed General George S. Patton’s advance before the Ardennes Offensive, Patton is said to have summoned Third Army Chaplain James H. O’ Neill. “Chaplain,” Patton said, “I want you to publish a prayer for good weather. I’m tired of these soldiers having to fight mud and floods as well as Germans, See if we can’t get God to work on our side.”

Chaplain O’Neill: “Sir, it’s going to take a pretty thick rug for that kind of praying.”

General Patton: “I don’t care if it takes the flying carpet. I want the praying done.”

The Chaplain protested “Yes, sir. May I say, General, that it isn’t a customary thing among men of my profession to pray for clear weather to kill fellow men.”

“Chaplain, are you teaching me theology or are you the chaplain of the Third Army? I want a prayer.”

The prayer was printed and distributed to the troops. The weather cleared. The rest you know.

This scene was fairly well played out in the movie Patton. Much of that movie is historically accurate.


Time Magazine, Monday, Jan. 10, 1949.

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