443rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion in World War II

SICILIAN CAMPAIGN

THE PATTON INCIDENT

On or about 12 August there occurred the famous "slapping" incident involving General Patton. While visiting a field hospital supporting the 3rd Infantry Division he talked to a number of wounded men. But when he came to one young man who had no visible injuries and who was in the hospital for treatment of combat fatigue, Patton slapped the soldier several times in the presence of doctors, nurses, orderlies and patients. The story was written up by news correspondents and the resulting furor caused General Eisenhower to order Patton to apologize to everyone in the hospital and to all the divisions. After the Messina surrender, the 443rd moved on 23rd August to the northwest corner of Sicily near Trapani. There General Patton apologized to the 3rd Division and said, "I love every bone in your heads". Concluding his remarks, he walked from the stage but then turned dramatically and saluted the American flag and the Division’s standard before leaving without another word.

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