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Lieutenant Philip E. Gallagher1
to George C. Marshall
September 27, 1932 [West Point, New York]
My dear Colonel Marshall:
I am attaching a letter requesting my detail to the Command and General Staff School for the course 1933-35.
I don’t know exactly what to do. Apparently the doors of both the Staff School and the Advanced Infantry School are closed to me simply because I am a lieutenant. I believe this is wrong. The War Department has no control over my promotion status but they can control the school policy, and I believe that the logical policy to adopt would be one based on length of service (regardless of grade) and the individual’s record.
I am mighty anxious to push ahead with others of my age and do wish there was some way to get some responsible person to see my point of view. In a very short time they will be deciding that I am too old to be bothered with and if that takes place in the next few years, I am through as far as a career is concerned. I have finished fifteen years service (one-half of my thirty years). I am still a lieutenant (the Bars Sinister, as we call them, are very irksome after so long a time, but I am used to them and can bear them), but this school business just takes all the fight out of me.
In China you advocated the policy of making lieutenants assume the responsibilities that go with the upper grades so I am in hopes that you still feel that way and will see fit to do something to help me out. . . .
Document Copy Text Source: Research File, Fort Screven Folder, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Gallagher (U.S.M.A., 1918) had taught at the Infantry School from 1918 to 1922, and had then taken the Company Officers’ course there (1922-23), before his assignment to the Fifteenth Infantry at Tientsin. He served as assistant regimental and post adjutant in Tientsin between April, 1925, and April 24, 1926. Returning to the United States in November, 1926, he became assistant professor of tactics at Lafayette College. Since June 26, 1928, he had been an instructor in tactics at the United States Military Academy. He had been a first lieutenant since October 16, 1919.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 379-380.