Patch, Alexander McCarell “Sandy”

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Patch, Alexander McCarell "Sandy"
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Patch, Alexander McCarell “Sandy”, born 23-11-1889, the same year as Hitler (see parents) on Fort Huachuca, a military post in Arizona where his father commanded a detachment. He never considered any career other than the army, and received his appointment to West Point in 1909. He wanted to follow his father into the cavalry, but realizing that they were becoming obsolete, he was commissioned into the infantry in 1913. In World War I Patch served as an infantry officer and as an instructor in the Army’s machine gun school. While commanding troops on the front line, his leadership came to the attention of George Catlett Marshall, then a member of General John Pershing’s Staff.

  During the buildup before the United States’ entry into World War II, Marshall was appointed Army Chief of Staff. Marshall promoted Patch to Brigadier General, and sent him to Fort Bragg to supervise the training of new soldiers there. In 1942, Patch was sent to the Pacific to organize the reinforcement and defense of New Caledonia. He took command of a loose collection of units, and formed them into the Americal Division, a name adopted on Patch’s suggestion after it was proposed by a soldier in the division. This unit first saw action in the Guadalcanal campaign. Starting in October 1942 they were brought in to relieve the valiant and malaria-ridden 1st Marine Division, nickname “The Old Breed” . In December, Patch moved up to command of the XIV Corps, and he was given charge of the entire offensive on Guadalcanal. Patch personally led troops under his command on a dangerous offensive in the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse to capture several fortified hills and ridges from the Japanese forces. Under his leadership, by February 1943 the Japanese were driven from Guadalcanal. Impressed by Patch’s performance on Guadalcanal, General Marshall ordered him to Europe, where he took over command of the Seventh Army from General Marck Clark. Under Patch, the Seventh Army landed in Southern France on 15-08-1944. Patch led the Army in a fast offensive up the Rhone Valley. On September 9, near Dijon, France, it met up with elements of Georg Smith Patton’s US Third Army that had driven east from the beaches of Normandy. Patch suffered personal tragedy when his son, Captain Alexander M. Patch III,

 

 was killed in action on 22-10-1944, while serving as an infantry company commander in the U.S. 79th Infantry Division, nickname “Cross of Lorraine  under command of  Major General Ira T. Wyche.

 Wyche died in Moore General Hospital following a stroke on 08-07-1981, old age 93, and was buried in the Fort Bragg Cemetery. In 1917 he married Mary Louise Dunn, and they had a daughter Elizabeth. The 79th Infantry Division was first activated on August 1917 and after a year of training the division sailed overseas July 1918. The 79th Infantry Division saw extensive combat in the Meuse-Argonne area where it earned the name of “Cross of Lorraine” for their defense of France. The division was inactivated June 1919 and returned to the United States. Throughout its entire World War I campaign, the division suffered some 6.874 casualties with 1.151 killed and 5.723 wounded. Throughout its 248 days of the World War II campaign, the division suffered 15.203 total casualties, with 10.971 wounded and 14.875 non-battle injuries. Three soldiers from this division were awarded the Medal of Honor. The division took 35.466 prisoners of war.

Patch retained command of the Seventh Army  until the end of the war, crossing into Germany, over the Rhine River, leading the Seventh’s attack on the German Siegfried Line, and then into southern Germany. In August 1945,

Death and burial ground of Patch, Alexander McCarell “Sandy”.

Patch returned to the U.S. to take command of the Fourth Army, but he was soon hospitalized with lung problems. He died of pneumonia on 21-11-1945, age 55, at Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, a year after his son was killed.. He is buried at West Point Cemetery, Section 2. Close by the graves of Lieutenant General, 82nd Airborne Division, James “Slim Jim” Gavin, General, Commander II Corps. Deputy Commander of George Patton, Jeoffrey Keyes and General, “Omaha Beach” , D-Day, Norman Daniel “Dutch” Cota.

 

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