POSTED: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 8:51am
UPDATED: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 8:52am
Fort Bliss, TX — A bright, warm February morning welcomed everyone to the dedication ceremony of the “Patton House.” The ceremony took place in front of building 222 Sheridan Road. This house and eight others of similar design were built in 1893 to house junior officers. The observance was to reclaim a previously lost piece of history of the life of one of the Army’s legendary officers, Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
First Lt. Patton and his family lived here from early 1916 to mid 1917. The Pattons relocated to Fort Bliss after his redeployment from Sierra Blanca, Texas.
A plaque commemorating the event was unveiled in front of the home, as was another plaque at 236 Sheridan Road where Patton stayed in temporary quarters, just prior to his deployment to Sierra Blanca in 1915. The deployment was part of a border patrol unit protecting American citizens from marauding bands of “Villistas” during the Mexican revolution.
Col. Brant V. Dayley, Fort Bliss garrison commander, was originally contacted in early 2004 by the Army Center of Military History, to help identify the building. Dayley immediately knew it was the house that he was living in. At that time, he was a lieutenant colonel and battalion commander of the 1st Battalion, 7th Air Defense Regiment,108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, known as the “No Fear” battalion. When asked how he felt about this new historic information, he said, “I was immediately excited. We knew the home was historic, but we didn’t know who had been the [previous] occupants.”
Dayley and his family lived in the house from 2004 through 2007.
When asked about the significance of such an event, he stated, “There are no quarters in the Army dedicated to General Patton, so this is huge just for this fact alone, to [both] Fort Bliss and El Paso.”
The other reason of significance Dayley declared is, “we have to remember our history, we need role models … we need to remember individuals who rise up during times of great challenges and adversity, amidst chaos.”
Col. Gale Lynn Washington, program manager, Systems, Systems Integration Directorate, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., stationed here and current occupant of the historic quarters was present at the ceremony. She was awe struck to know that her house has such historic significance to Fort Bliss.
“I’m tremendously honored,” Washington said. “Wow, I have a piece of history that I come home to every day.”
Fort Bliss and El Paso have another feather in the proverbial cap to claim for local history. The Patton House is directly across Smith Bliss Parade field, along what is locally called “officer row” on Sheridan road. The plaque is off the sidewalk for those history aficionados to see and read, but please be courteous to the residents if you do come to see a piece of Patton’s history.