Memories of General Grow and General Patton by Cyrus R. Shockey

I was drafted 16 June 1941. On 4 July 42, I was commissioned a 2nd Lt in Cavalry at Ft Knox, Ky. Two weeks later, I reported to the 6th Armd Div at Camp Chaffee, AK and assigned to Hq and Hq Co. In October 1943, I was assigned as Aide to General Grow at Camp Cooke, California. I served as senior Aide until the General was reassigned from the Division in May 1945. General Grow also had a second Aide by the name of Ben Schieider,
a very capable Artillery officer.
My observations about Generals are that most are intelligent, ambitious, crave publicity, if favorable, and hate war. However, if there is a war, none want to be left out of the action. General Grow was such a person.
General Grow greatly admired General Patton. Having served under him at Ft. Benning, Ga, General Grow was intimately familiar with Patton's dynamic personality and aggressive style of leadership. Patton's record in combat was clear evidence that his style of leadership produced results.
General Grow was not bashful about adopting this style of leadership. For example, General Patton never stayed at his headquarters when his Army units were engaged in combat. Neither did General Grow. 
Instead both roamed the battle areas keeping abreast of the situation through monitoring radio communications and personal observation.

Since General Grow made personal contact with his Combat and Task Force Commanders daily, he used these contacts to issue any new orders which would affect their mission and inform them of any changes in troop attachments. Upon his return to the CP, he would immediately write paragraph 3 of the Operations Order and have it delivered to G-3. This procedure gave his combat commanders maximum time to plan and make adjustments rather than wait for delivery of the formal Operations Order, often delivered by a liaison officer late into the night.

General Grow was not happy to have his tank units the control of Infantry officers. From experience, he knew too often they would be used piece-meal and thereby did not use the mass, firepower, and mobility tanks offered. He believed Generals who commanded Infantry Divisions were too conservative and scared of any action that would leave then with an exposed flank. General Grow believed in General Patton's philosophy that when you are in the rear areas of the enemy, he, not you, should be the one concerned.

General Grow was not afraid to take chances and expose himself to danger. On 5 August 1944 in the dash to Brest, the General augmented his jeep and halftrack with two tanks borrowed from Combat B which was moving toward Brest on the northern route. The addition of these two tanks gave a measure of security as the General moved from the northern route to join CCA on the southern route. This decision meant traversing some15 miles of enemy territory knowing the possibility of running into enemy contingents who would be retreating to Brest.

Upon arriving at the lead elements of CCA, he felt the column was moving too cautiously and decided to lead with his own four vehicles in advance of CCA to Huelgoat. The two medium talks arrived at Huelgoat around 1130 on 5 August. As the two tanks manoeuvred through the obstacles leading to the center of the town, a towed artillery unit of three guns and approximately 40 enemy hastily departed out of the town heading west. A reconnaissance of the NE route into the town by the two tanks revealed a bicycle Infantry unit of approximately 50 enemy. 

Upon seeing the tanks, they hastily abandoned the bicycles and fled to the woods. General Grow was aware that there were enemy surrounding the town and very likely within the town; nevertheless, he remained in the town until late afternoon when he departed and joined CCA. During this time, the enemy initiated no contact. 

The General's concern for his own safety was based on his belief that the enemy was more concerned with retreating safely than getting involved in a fight. The only casualty was a shoulder wound received by FFI guide in our party. I believe the shot came from a Frenchman, not a German. 

The FFI guide was standing in the middle of the street and for some reason started celebrating by shooting his weapon in all directions, thereby causing some danger to the inhabitants who had remained indoors. General Grow was not bashful in expressing his opinions. 

Frequently, we returned to Corps Headquarters to be briefed on war plans. He could be very critical in pointing out the flaws and suggesting changes to make better use of tank units. Most always he sold his point. 

General Grow also could be a bit clever in recording history. At Bastogne, Gen Patton showed up one morning and stated he had some information that the enemy was withdrawing. Because of the weather and cloud cover, we had no air observation and information gleaned from the locals was sparse and unverified. He ordered General Grow to infiltrate the enemy line, get in the rear on high ground with two vehicles with long-range communication and report on the enemy. The execution of this mission moved quickly and two vehicles passed through the lines of the 101st Airborne Division just prior to dusk. The vehicles found out immediately the enemy had not pulled back and because of heavy enemy fire pulled back with the idea of trying the following day and select a more appropriate route.
This mission was canceled since the following day was clear and air-observation furnished the intelligence. In 1980 at the 6th Armd Div Reunion in New Orleans, I had breakfast with the General and asked him why this mission was never mentioned in the history of the Division. His reply was "I do not mention failures unless I have to".

General Grow was a man who loved to converse with others. Time upon time, I had individuals mention to me what a tremendous memory he had, even going back to the days of the horse cavalry. I agreed but did not tell them I had heard the stories so many times with the same detail and dates that I could also recite them.
General Grow was very methodical in keeping a diary and recording his thoughts and happenings on a daily basis. This diary proved to be very helpful in assisting those who put together the Division histories. In the same vein, he religiously and routinely wrote to his wife, Mary Lou, throughout his assignment in the European theatre.
Once combat action had ceased and prior to the General departing the Division on reassignment, he along with several other Division and Corps Generals of the Third Army were invited by General Patton to his villa on a lake in Bavaria. After dinner, the talk among the Generals turned to the war in the Pacific. Since the Generals were finding themselves without jobs, they wondered who among them might be called to the Pacific. 

I remember General Patton stating he would be the last person on earth to be called by General MacArthur. He then stated the rest could relax because the war in the Pacific would end soon. In August, the atom bomb was dropped. How much did General Patton know about this new bomb? I have often wondered.


1939 Graduated from Illinois State University, Bachelor of Education Degree.
1939-1941 Taught high school in St Anne, IL.
1941 Drafted and inducted on June 16 into the Army at Ft Sheridan, IL. Basic training at Camp Polk, LA.
Attended OCS, Armor School, Ft Knox, KY, March to 1 July. Commissioned 2nd Lt. In Armor.
Assigned to Sixth Armored Division with reporting date of June 16, 1941. Assigned to Division
Headquarters, Ft Smith, AR.
1942 Desert training in Mohave Desert, October 1941 to April 1942. Moved to Camp Cooke, CA,
April 1942
1943 February, selected by MG Grow, Commanding General of 6th Armored Division as his senior aide.
(Remained in this position until the end of WWII.)
1944 Division moved from Camp Cooke, CA in January to England. The Division disembarked to
Utah Beach commencing July 18. The first unit was committed to combat July 27.
1944-1945 Division was involved in the following campaigns: Brittany with mission to take Brest, Germany
(July 27- September17;) Seille River (September 17- November 7;) SAAR River (November 8 –
December 24;) Ardennes (December 25 – January 26, 1945;) Dasburg-Prum River (January 27 – March
8, 1945.)
1945 Returned to the US in September. Made decision to remain in the Army and apply for a regular
commission. Assigned as Adjutant of Army Ground Forces Board #2, Ft Knox, KY in November.
1946 Received Regular Commission in January.
1947 Assigned to Troop and Education School, Carlisle Barracks, PA, in June. InNovember, was assigned to
the 24th Constabulary at Linz, Austria.
1949 Assigned to Secretary General Staff, Headquarters US Forces, Austria, in February.
1951 Advanced Armor Course at Ft Knox, KY. Assigned S3 to 3rd Armored Calvary, Ft Meade,
MD, in July, 1951.
1952 Assigned as a student to Command and General Staff School, Ft Leavenworth, KS in
1953 Assigned to G3 staff section, Fifth Army Headquarters, Chicago, IL in July.
1954 Assigned to United States Military Armistice Commission, South Korea, in September.
1955-1956 Assigned as CO of 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, South Korea,
in March. Assigned as CO of Tank Battalion, 24th Infantry Division in August.
1956-1959 Assigned to Personnel Department at the Pentagon in December.
1959-1960 Student at Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. Graduated in June.
1960-1963 Assigned to the Intelligence Division, Headquarters US Army in Europe, Heidelberg, Germany.
1963-1966 Assigned to Combat Development and Doctrine Agency at Ft Knox, KY in June.
1966 Assigned to University of Iowa as Professor of Military Science of ROTC in June.
1970 Mandatory retirement in grade of Colonel.
1944 Silver Star, August 4th.
1944 Purple Heart, Dion, France, September 30th.
Bronze Star with Cluster


The Servant Scene November 2013

6th armored division