George Marshall and Hap Arnold

In 1938, Brig. Gen. George Marshall was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, and Lt. Col. Henry “Hap” Arnold was Assistant Chief of Air Corps. On the face, their jobs appear equal – both second in line – but the Army Air Corps was under the command of the Army, hence the difference in […]

“I made a wise decision in selecting China…”

At the end of his service as Aide-de-Camp to Gen. John Pershing in 1924, Lt. Col. George Marshall selected China as his next duty station. Marshall, his wife Lily, and her mother Mrs. Coles, arrived in Tientsin (Tianjin) China in the late summer, just before hostilities erupted in the area. Marshall reported to Maj. Gen. […]

Happy Birthday, General Marshall!

George Marshall served as Army Chief of Staff, Special Representative of the President to China, Secretary of State, President of the American Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense, and these public jobs meant he didn’t often get to celebrate his birthday on Dec. 31 at home with his family. In 1925, Lt. Col. Marshall was […]

Christmas 1941 at Camp Lee, Virginia

Christmas 1941 was two and one-half weeks after the shocking devastation of Pearl Harbor. The United States was at war, and for men and women already in uniform, the future was uncertain and scary. At Fort Lee, VA, soldiers posed for Army Signal Corps photos showing Christmas preparation as a morale-booster to be shared throughout […]

Back-to-Back-to-Back Conferences: Cairo to Tehran to Cairo

In November and December 1943, American and British leaders, including President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, met with Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek and Marshal of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin, but not at the same time. The first of these three conferences was in Cairo, Egypt, November 22-26 with Chiang, the only one […]

The Armistice Has Been Signed

Armistice Day. From the Latin arma (weapons) and sistere (to come to a stand or stop). The eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour. It was the end of the War to End All Wars. How did soldiers react to the news that the long, terrible fight was over? Col. George Marshall, […]

Behind the Bank Vault Door is Archives!

Most photos of Gen. George C. Marshall show him rather serious, like this:   Even as a boy, his photos were unsmiling.   So to find a photo where Marshall is hamming it up for the camera is rather unusual.   These photos are from the George C. Marshall Foundation library archives, and as part […]

“I Don’t Believe It!!”

On November 5, 1943, about a dozen British and American military officers gathered around a large table for a meeting about the progress in and plans for the war. The men are cordial but serious as they discuss topics like the preliminary plans for the invasion of Europe. You’d think it was not a suitable […]

Robert Lovett: A Man of Character and Ability

The main library room at the George C. Marshall Foundation is called the “Lovett Reading Room,” and there is a large painting of Robert Lovett on display. This confuses some visitors who may not recognize Lovett, or know the long working relationship George Marshall and Lovett had.     Lovett was a World War I […]

New focus on the George C. Marshall statue

Recently, the Virginia Military Institute began a project that relocated the post flagpoles to either side of the George C. Marshall statue in front of the barracks. This is where the flagpoles used to be. You can see the Marshall statue to the left of the U.S. flag. First, the Marshall statue was safely wrapped […]

Roaring Boring Alice

The digitization of 63 Hollinger boxes of Army Signal Corps photos is an ongoing project at the Marshall Foundation Library. VMI cadets Garrett DeFazio and Noah McHugh, and missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Elders Larsen, Finney, and Eaton have been moving this project along this summer, and sometimes discover some […]

A Glimpse Into the Past

In 1968, Ida May Esmond donated the Army papers belonging to her stepfather, Col. Edmund C. Waddill, to the George C. Marshall Foundation. Waddill graduated from VMI in 1903, and served with the 2nd Division in World War I.   He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “exceptional bravery by advancing in the open […]

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion update

Last week, the Associated Press ran an article about the efforts to honor surviving members 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion with the Congressional Gold Medal. Legislation passed the Senate earlier this year, and a bill is currently waiting on a vote in the House. Information about finding and contacting your local representative can be found […]

Great Things Had Their Beginnings Here

Fort Necessity, Virginia, July 3, 1754. It was early days of the British colonists’ participation in the global Seven Years’ War, and Col. George Washington, believing his small force could not defeat the French and their allies surrounding the fort, accepted surrender terms that allowed for a safe retreat from the area. Another George was […]

D-Day +6

Gen. George C. Marshall and other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff left Washington, D.C., just after D-Day on June 8, 1944, traveling to the United Kingdom, to be absent about two weeks. In England, they met with the Combined Chiefs of Staff (the American Joint Chiefs and the British military chiefs) June 10 […]

The Urgent Necessity of Frequent Visits

“The big thing I learned in World War II was the urgent necessity of frequent visits … I was abreast of what was going on all over the place. I could sense their reactions and I could see how they felt urgently about this or that, which we at headquarters did not really feel so […]

An Expectation of Professionalism

Newly promoted Col. George Marshall had only been commanding officer at Fort Moultrie, SC, for a few months in an anticipated two-year tour when he received orders to report as the senior instructor to the Illinois National Guard, then the 33rd Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Roy D. Keehn. The orders surprised the Marshalls, as […]

“Avoid trivia.”

George Marshall was sworn in as Secretary of State January 21, 1947, just after he returned from working as Special Representative to the President in China for over a year. Marshall’s  first international conference was at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers, held March 10-April 24, 1947. The conference didn’t end with the agreements settling […]

How Far? All the Way!

Benjamin Franklin first envisioned airborne troops dropped by parachute from hot air balloons flying behind enemy lines in a 1784 letter, “And where is the Prince who can afford so to cover his Country with Troops for its Defense, as that Ten Thousand Men descending from the Clouds, might not in many Places do an […]

“Powder” in Pictures

George Marshall called him “Powder.” Powder ordered a warm winter coat for Gen. Marshall before traveling to Russia and found a birthday cake on Christmas Eve for Katherine to celebrate Field Marshal Dill’s birthday. He traveled to conferences in Paris, Casablanca, Yalta, Quebec, Algiers, and Potsdam, but he was not in any of the photos. […]

“General, How About Getting a Nice Coat”

When it’s cold, you wear a coat. When you’re a soldier and it’s cold, you wear whatever coat is issued to you. While serving as Army Chief of Staff during World War II, we most often see Gen. George Marshall in his Army-issue coat, which is a trench coat with a button-in woolen liner for […]

Stars in space

The Atlantis space shuttle flight STS-27R lifted off Dec. 2, 1988 with a crew of five astronauts: Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson; pilot Guy Gardner; mission specialists Robert Mullane, Jerry Ross, and William Shepherd. Atlantis carried a classified military satellite aloft, and also carried stars to space. Stars to space? Isn’t that a bit odd? Yes, […]

Oh, Fleet!

George Marshall loved dogs. He had several as a boy, and usually had one around as an adult. This is the story of Fleet the dalmatian, George Marshall’s dog at the beginning of World War II. Fleet was a gift from Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. Fleet was grandson of a champion; he learned to […]

So You Want to Retire …

After serving 43 years in the U.S. Army, Gen. George Marshall planned to retire. He and his wife, Katherine, would spend warm months at their home in Leesburg, VA,  and cool months at their home in Pinehurst, NC. Marshall’s days would be occupied gardening, fishing, riding, and spending uninterrupted time with Katherine. After the ceremony […]

Elizebeth Who?

She wrote the book on code breaking for the U.S. Army, and taught the first cryptography classes to soldiers in WWI. In three months, she decrypted two years of backlogged Coast Guard messages, using only a pencil and paper. She was the only woman employed by the Coast Guard at the time. She served as […]

The first wartime Christmas

The third week of December, 1941, a British delegation including Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff arrived in Washington, D.C. for ARCADIA, the first of several meetings in the nation’s capitol, and the last of several conferences attended by the British and American delegations that year. Gen. Marshall suggested to Katherine […]

“I Am Interested in the Soldier Having His Pants”

While a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute, George Marshall studied military history and tactics, and was doubtless familiar with Napoleon Bonaparte’s ill-fated attack on Russia that ended with French soldiers freezing in the Russian winter. As a young officer in World War I, Capt. Marshall first met Gen. Pershing when he disputed Pershing’s scathing […]

Gratitude and Turkey

When Lt. Col. George Marshall served in World War I, he gained a personal knowledge how hard it is to be separated from loved ones for the holidays. In France 1917, soldiers enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast much like they were used to at home: This must have left quite an impression on Marshall, for in […]

Not Retirement At All

Gen. George Marshall served as Army Chief of Staff from September 1939 to November 1945, longer than the ordinary four-year term. As World War II ended, so did Marshall’s service. Thanksgiving weekend of 1945, Marshall took a much-needed break and went pheasant hunting in North Dakota with friend and co-worker Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold. It […]

No more let us falter! From Malta to Yalta!

“No more let us falter! From Malta to Yalta!” telegraphed Prime Minister Winston Churchill to President Roosevelt on New Year’s Day, 1945. The Yalta Conference, set for February 4 through 11, was going to decide the fate of Postwar Europe. But first, the British and American delegations were meeting at Montgomery House on the Mediterranean […]

Breaking “Purple” in William Friedman’s own words

In late 1938, a decoded Japanese message indicated that in February 1939, the current “A” encryption would no longer be used, but would switch to the new “B” encryption. Japanese diplomatic messages had been decoded and read from the “A” encryption for several years, so the switch was at first worrisome, and then problematic, for […]

I deeply regret to confirm …

Friday, Sept. 18 is National POW/MIA day, honoring prisoners of war and those still missing in action. I wore an MIA/POW bracelet for years. The name on my bracelet was Capt. John N. Flanigan, USMC. I only knew the information on the bracelet; that Flanigan was from Florida, and he disappeared Aug. 19, 1969 over […]

Bem vindos o Brasil! Welcome to Brazil!

On May 25, 1939, the Navy cruiser U.S.S. Nashville docked at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Acting Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. George Marshall began his first trip on the world stage. The planning for the trip was detailed, and included ordering the white uniforms worn in the tropics. While at March Air Base, CA, […]

Three WACs from Virginia

In the blog about the 6888th Central Postal Delivery Battalion, it was noted that the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was not intended to serve overseas. It’s not that the women couldn’t serve overseas, but the women serving in the WAAC were not given the same securities as soldiers. They weren’t protected by the Geneva Convention, […]

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

The 64th anniversary of the dedication of the Colleville-sur-Mer Normandy American Cemetery was commemorated July 18. Among the thousands of graves, there are four American women buried there – three from the same battalion: the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion consisted of 850 officers and enlisted in four companies, […]

A Searing Light

It was first called the “Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials,” then the “Manhattan Engineer District,” after the location of offices in New York City near the Army Corps of Engineers offices. The project was very secret – the small committee running it included Vice President Henry Wallace, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Army […]

A good day fishing

Some of George Marshall’s favorite childhood memories were going fishing, especially with his father. These father-son excursions led to an enjoyable lifelong hobby for him. One story of a childhood fishing trip was on the Youghiogheny River (pronounced “Yock-a-gainy”). Marshall’s father and two friends, along with young George (not too much older than the photo […]

“The hardest work I ever did in my life.”

The Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, is the graduate school for U.S. Army officers primarily. It was established in 1881 by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as the School for Application of Infantry and Cavalry. It was renamed the School of the Line just as Lt. George Marshall was assigned there in […]

D-Day for Staff Sgt. Richard H. Hobbs

My father, Richard H. Hobbs, joined the Washington, D.C. National Guard as a military policeman in 1938, when he was 21. When the 29th Infantry Division (the same National Guard Division in Virginia today) was federalized in February 1941, he was sent to Fort Meade and trained to drive a 2.5 ton GMC truck. In […]

Seeing Stars

There’s an issue with this photo. Do you see it? Hint: Look at their uniform collars. “Uniform” means everything should be worn the same, which isn’t happening in this photo. Most generals wear stars on both collar points. Sometimes, Gen. Marshall wore his stars on the right, as above, but sometimes on the left. I […]

Victory in Europe

“The mission of this Allied force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945,” Gen. Eisenhower to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and British Chiefs of Staff from S.H.A.E.F. headquarters in Reims. (Papers of DDE, 4:  2696.) Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, accepted the unconditional surrender of German forces on May 7. […]

Cooking with World War II Rations – What I Learned

Cooking with World War II ration recipes – Main dish Many of us are cooking from what we have in the pantry as we endeavor to keep trips to the grocery and other stores to a minimum. My ingredients are somewhat limited, and it occurred to me that my grandmother faced similar limitations during World […]

Serving in the Philippines Part 1: Getting There

Serving in the Philippines Part 1: Getting There Upon commission in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1902, George Marshall’s first station was on the island of Mindoro, in the Philippines, with Company G of the 30th Infantry. On March 17, 1902, Marshall traveled by train from New York to San Francisco, and […]

Marshall’s Silver Star

George Marshall never led troops into battle, and this fact disappointed him. In World War I, though he asked to be assigned to combat troops, he was pulled from 1st Division to General Headquarters after planning the pivotal attack at Cantigny. His superiors felt that his talent for planning and logistics was more valuable on […]

Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Prohibition

One hundred years ago, it became illegal to stop off at the corner bar for a beer – the Volstead Act, commonly called Prohibition, outlawed the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-123257 Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into […]

Two Handshakes, 120 Years of Cadet Leadership

Although he was not an outstanding student at the Virginia Military Institute, George Marshall proved to be a leader among his fellow cadets as he served as corporal and first sergeant in his second and third years at VMI. He was known for his “impressively military bearing and a voice which could be heard the […]

Remembering Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the USS Oklahoma was moored at Ford Island, in Pearl Harbor. Japanese aircraft dropped numerous torpedoes that caused the ship to explode and capsize during the surprise attack. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, “when the ensuing chaos subsided enough to allow an accurate headcount of the ship’s personnel, a […]