George C. "Patton" Scott, who died Wednesday of an aneurysm at age 71, and I were good friends and frequent liberty buddies while serving together as three-stripers at the Washington Marine Barracks from 1946--1948.
George and I were both instructors at the Marine Corps Institute, then an accredited academic correspondence school for Marines. I instructed first-year college journalism, English grammar, and authored a new MCI course in photo journalism. George instructed English literature and Radio Speaking and Writing.
Because he marched with the grace of a gazelle, he was designated guidon bearer for the elite Barracks ceremonial company. I marched immediately behind him as company right guide , ever-failing to emulate his awesome ballbearing strides. We marched in rain, snow, and Washington heat in many military funerals at Arlington cemetery--sometimes two or three a day--as well as in presidential inaugural parades and other special ceremonial occasions in DC. This was in addition to our regular MCI duties. George found funeral details distasteful to him. He became very depressed when witnessing families and relatives mourning the deaths of their Marines.
George was quoted several times in his life-after the Corps as saying that the Marine Corps made him an alcoholic. One late night when I was standing barracks duty, I was summoned to Brinkley's, the Marines' watering hole across from the gate, by a fellow sergeant moonlighting as a bouncer. "Get him out of here before he tears up the joint and gets in trouble." I proceeded to wrestle a very intoxicated George back across the street to the barracks. On such occasions, he was always beligerent, if not sometimes mean.
As I was half carrying, half dragging his six foot frame down the barracks arcade enrote to his squad bay, he suddenly paused, looked me straight in the eye, and declared in very slurred , but insistent voice: "You know, Mo, someday I'm gonna be a goddamned great actor."
"Yeah, right George," I responded, humoring him, "you'll be that."
However, he didn't hear me. He had unceremoniously passed out cold on the arcade bricks.
I believe George was falling off the wagon before reporting to DC. It got worse with time, caused by his deep disappointment that he had not seen combat as a Marine in WWII. He had enlisted in the Corps as WWII was coming to an end, specifically choosing to be a Marine because he sincerely believed the Corps would get him into combat before the war ended, something fiercely important to him. Didn't happen. He cried on my shoulder about this.
He liked being a Marine, and was a good one, but he was never destined to make a career of it., returning to civilian life in 1949 upon expiration of his enlistment. He never considered his duties at 8th &I very exciting. He had other fish to fry. For a time he wanted to be a journalist, but becoming an actor eventually consumed him.
He was known to be irascible (as a Marine and his life thereafter). He did not suffer fools (of any rank) lightly, nor did he make friends easily, but he was very loyal to those to befriend. I don't recall him ever dating while on duty at the barracks. When we pulled liberty together (before I became married to Mary Jane), we usually went off post to a deli to enjoy our favorite sandwiches with Coke or coffee and a lot of enjoyable conversation, a blend of serious and humorous. Because I did not imbibe(at the time), he spared me from joining him when he set out to hang one on at Brinkley's. (He did, however, count on me to rescue you him on occasion.)
After watching Marine Sergeant George Scott become Gen. George Patton on the screen, I sought George's address and/or phone number through the studio. I was told to send my communication through the studio and they would ensure he would receive it. My short note read: "Dear George, you were right. You are a goddamned great actor! Semper Fi, Mo."
No reply. He was never big on maintaining friendships. His ambitions were elsewhere. Could be he may not have remembered his declaration that night in the barracks arcade so my message may not have made sense to him. I did have witnesses, however. Two noncom buddies coming off liberty were moving to help me get George to bed and heard his remark.