Decades before Gen. George Patton's actions in the European theater made him a legend, his performance in the modern pentathlon almost made him an Olympic medalist.
Patton took fifth overall in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the only American in a field of 32. It wasn't enough to reach the podium, but his efforts, combined with his post-Olympic legacy, earned him one of 10 spots in the inaugural class of the UIPM (or Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne Hall of Fame), announced in November.
On Feb. 23, Patton's induction became official during the opening ceremonies of an international pentathlon event in Pomona, California. Col. J.J. Love of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command accepted the honor, according to an Army news release. Modern-day soldier-pentathletes Staff Sgt. Dennis Bowsher (2012 Olympian and 2016 Olympic coach), Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher (2016 Olympian), and Sgt. Logan Storie, who is aiming for the 2020 Olympics, attended the ceremony.
"I think [Patton] would be proud that there's still military involvement in the sport," Bowsher said in the release. "He was the first athlete to compete in pentathlon in the Olympics and he was the only American and he was military, so I think he would be proud to see that military tradition is still there."
Among the other inductees: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, recognized as the founder of the modern Olympics and the creator of the modern pentathlon, five pentathlon gold medalists, and other athletes and patrons that have contributed to the sport's growth.
Bowsher, Schrimsher and Storie, all part of the Army's World Class Athlete Program, compete in the same five events as Patton did, albeit in a different structure. Fencing, swimming and the equestrian portion remain separate events, while the shooting and running (3,200 meters) now are a combined event that wraps up the competition.
Shooting was Patton's worst event and was first on the docket in 1912. He took 21st, but rallied with top-seven finishes in the remaining four events to secure fifth place overall. It was the highest finish of any non-Swede in the field.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.