Brigadier General John L. Patten
Brigadier General (PA) John L. Patten was appointed Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs June 12, 1995. In this position, he supervises the administration of veterans assistance programs to Pennsylvania’s 1.3 million veterans and their children and dependents as well as the operation of the Commonwealth's five veterans homes and Scotland School for Veterans Children.
Patten retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel in 1983, after 30 years of service, including two tours in Vietnam. He received more than 25 decorations from the U.S. and Vietnam governments. With Governor Tom Ridge's signing of state legislation, Patten was formally recognized as a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania Guard June 5, 1998. This action symbolizes Governor Ridge's commitment to honor veterans equally with the uniformed members of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Patten joined Pennsylvania state government in 1983 as Director of the Emergency Management Agency and served there until 1987. He created the agency's system of large-screen displays to help emergency team managers direct the response by various state and local agencies to natural and manmade disasters.
He served with the Department of Community Affairs from 1989 until 1995, where he developed the state’s “911” system, now operating in the state’s 67 counties.
Born in Newfoundland in 1932, Patten moved with his family to Massachusetts when he was 11 years old.
He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, and on one of his two tours of duty commanded the division's 11th Artillery Battalion. The division commander named him outstanding artillery commander in 1971-72. He also served as emergency actions officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff; executive to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Operations; Chief of Country Affairs, European Division, for the JCS Plans and Policy Directorate; and Chief of Logistics for the XVIII Airborne Corps commander at Fort Bragg, N.C. His Army service also included command of an I Corps artillery unit in Korea and Director of Personnel for the commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash. He was awarded Master Parachutist Wings by both the U.S. and Vietnamese armed forces.
A graduate of the University of Nebraska, he also holds a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
Gen. Patten and his wife, Miriam, live in Middletown.