Taking Care of the Troops
Gen. George Marshall had learned that taking care of his troops was one of the most important jobs for a commanding officer. He did not want to micromanage his subordinates, but he was interested in seeing that members of the military had the supplies they needed to do their jobs.
From Ordeal and Hope, volume 2 of Forrest Pogue’s biography on George C. Marshall:
He laid down his most famous dictum on supply when he learned during one of his trips to the field that most of the units had shortages in supplies of clothing. When he complained to his supply chiefs they showed him inventories of well-stocked warehouses and stacks of requisitions being processed. He was not impressed by the lists, reminding them that recently, after he had been told by the Quartermaster that the Fort Myer Post Exchange had socks, he had been unable to buy a pair for himself. He suggested that they deal with units in the field as if the War Department were a mail-order company trying to dispose of surplus stocks. He declared crisply, “I am interested in the soldier having his pants” (p. 110).
In a speech to the American legion in 1943, Marshall said:
My consideration is for the American soldier, to see that he has every available means with which to make successful war, that he is not limited in ammunition, that he is not limited in equipment, and that he has sufficient training and medical care; in other words, to see that for once in the history of this country he is given a fair break in the terrible business of making war (Sept. 21, 1943).
To find other items that the Marshall Foundation has on taking care of troops, search “care of soldiers” in the library catalog: https://www.marshallfoundation.org/library/results/
Digitized items in the George C. Marshall archives: