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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

Marshall and the Knutsford Affair

This is a previously published blog. General George S. Patton’s comments at the opening of a British Welcome Club for American soldiers in Knutsford, England, are one of many well-known and controversial episodes from Patton’s army career. U.S. Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall’s response to Patton’s comments are less well known. They serve […]

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 […]

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 […]

Marshall and Fort Reno

A few days after Christmas in December 1903 George C. Marshall and his detachment of Company G, Thirtieth Infantry, arrived for a routine assignment at Fort Reno in Oklahoma Territory. According to author William Frye in his 1947 biography Marshall: Citizen Soldier, Marshall noticed the Ninth Cavalry “Buffalo Soldiers” stationed there and “lectured his own […]

Marshall and the Five-Star Rank

On December 16, 1944, General George C. Marshall became the first army officer to be promoted to the newly created five-star rank. Only nine army and navy officers have been selected for promotion to this distinguished rank. They were: Admiral William D. Leahy, Chair of the Chiefs of Staff: (December 15, 1944) General George C. […]

Marshall and his Advice to the Young

This post was originally published on June 19, 2015. June graduations and commencement addresses are great collegiate traditions and the last opportunity to influence students. General Marshall said he tried his “best to influence young people whenever I came in contact with them in public talks.” In this digital era, when there is so much […]

Marshall and The World Wars

Noted World War I scholar Dr. Edward Lengel talked about American military entry into WWI last night to open the Marshall Legacy Series sequence called The World Wars. His talk, “Testing the American Way of War: Doughboys in Combat, 1917-1918,” can be viewed on our YouTube channel. Dr. Lengel discussed the first American military engagements […]

Marshall and Biographies

Reading a great biography allows a reader to stand on the shoulders of giants. George C. Marshall was one such giant. His character defined him as someone who could be trusted by colleagues, subordinates and superiors. It was one reason why Congress supported his many requests for funding and superiors listened to his thoughtful, yet strong, […]

Marshall and His Advice to the Young

June graduations and commencement addresses are great collegiate traditions and the last opportunity to influence students. General Marshall said he tried his “best to influence young people whenever I came in contact with them in public talks.” In this digital era, when there is so much information available, General Marshall’s reply to Edward R. Morrow’s question, “I […]

Marshall and the Benning Revolution

In a February 2014 Congressional Research Service Report, Army Drawdown and Restructuring: Background and Issues for Congress, noted that Army endstrength would go from 570,000 in 2010 to 490,000 by the end of 2017. The drawdown of American forces has been a cyclical part of the nation’s military experience and “the Army has historically focused […]

Marshall and Transformational Leadership

At our recent leadership seminar for the National Association of Counties, we communicated Secretary of State Marshall’s powerful example of transformational leadership to secure European economic recovery following World War II. Known as the Marshall Plan, the European Recovery Program represents the power of a person to transform. It was not easy, however. Marshall met […]