I have a wonderful neighbor, Jimmy Grecco, 91, Italian kid from the Bronx who still rides his motorcycle. He served on the US Dickman attack transport and participated in the major invasions (his ship launched the landing craft for beach assaults). He gave me a letter George Patton wrote to the men just prior to the invasion of Italy, which I scanned and have posted.
Patton was on his ship and actually went in on the first wave of landing craft.
Patton’s letter is one of the most powerful marketing messages I’ve encountered, not to mention one of the most masterfully crafted pieces of writing I’ve read. He never loses sight of the goal: motivate the men going into battle. Yet he handles objections (you will be fighting men who may share your heritage) and reminds the reader of the obvious (in landing operations retreat is impossible).
Jimmy is proud to have had Patton on his ship (he says affectionately of Patton, “He was a crazy bastard!”) and proud of his service. As he should be.
Reading the letter Patton wrote so eloquently to the men who would risk their lives brings into sharp focus the tragedy of war, the bravery of those who have fought and who now fight and the honor and respect we owe them.