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Editorial Note on March Inspection Trip
March 14-19, 1941
Departing from Washington shortly after ten o’clock on the morning of March 14, Marshall began his first extensive inspection trip since August 1940. During his five-day journey, he concentrated his attention on four ground forces and five Air Corps installations in the southeast. (Marshall described the trip in his letter of March 22 to Mrs. John B. Wilson, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-399 [2: 449-50].) He also delivered two addresses: a five-minute radio speech from Montgomery, Alabama, given as part of a program honoring the anniversary of the founding of the United States Military Academy; and a longer, informal speech before the General Association of Chambers of Commerce in Tampa, Florida. Apparently no transcript was made of Marshall’s addresses.
In Washington the General Staff secretariat was enjoying a brief respite from their normally heavy load. “With General Marshall away, the office is much quieter than usual,” the newest assistant secretary, Lieutenant Colonel Paul M. Robinett, recorded in his diary. (March 15, 1941, GCMRL/P. M. Robinett Collection [Diary, p. 68].) His commanding officer, Colonel Orlando Ward, also observed that “things are tranquil”; but from experience he added, “It will not last long.” (Orlando Ward Diary, March 17, 1941, photocopy in GCMRL/Research File.) As usual, Marshall returned from his trip with a long list of problems, shortages, and grievances to be investigated and resolved. The following six memorandums are typical of those resulting from an inspection trip by the chief of staff.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 445-446,