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Major Thomas W. King1 to
the Commanding General, Fourth Corps Area
March 24, 1933 Fort McPherson, Georgia
Annual Inspection of Fort Screven, Ga.
. . . VII. ADEQUACY OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF OFFICERS.2
1. With reference to the above, the Commanding Officer states as follows:
“1. Conditions at Fort Screven are abnormal. Cost of living, food stuffs and garrison social requirements are unusually low. The financial situation of the officers is therefore not a fair example for the Army at large.
“2. Those officers most seriously affected by the present rate of pay and allowances may be divided into two classes,—a junior officers old in years due to slow promotion, and b young officers drawing pay and allowance rates for the first five years of service.
“a. The first group have been benefited by the great decrease in prices generally and they usually have managed to accumulate enough household goods and uniforms so that they can get along with a few replacements each year. But as their children grow older and more numerous their expenses steadily increase. I find that officers in this group at Fort Screven live in reasonable comfort, but those with families are unable to accumulate any reserve and are usually involved in time payments on a car (a necessity here). All are too insecurely established financially to make desirable social contacts with civilians in the same walk of life. All are seriously embarrassed with the problem of educating and meeting the unavoidable expense of their children as they reach high school age. All with families are embarrassed in maintaining reasonable life insurance to safeguard their families.
“b. Young officers in the first pay period live a precarious existence, even here where good quarters are available and the cost of living is very low. Their margin of safety financially is so slender that any untoward event, such as the arrival or sickness of a baby, the breaking down of their car—which is an absolute necessity here—usually plunges them into debt, unless their parents come to the rescue. They are unable to maintain a suitable position in contact with the civilians of the nearby city who occupy a corresponding position, unless they have some outside assistance.”3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Office of the Inspector General (RG 159), 333.1, Fort Screven, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Typed report.
1. King was the assistant inspector general for the Fourth Corps Area.
2. On June 30, 1932, President Hoover signed the Omnibus Economy Bill. Among other stipulations, all military officers were required to take unpaid furloughs totaling thirty days during the 1933 fiscal year. This amounted to a salary reduction of eight and one-third percent of their active duty pay. In addition, all paid leaves were prohibited, and after July 1, 1932, salary increases resulting from promotion or from length of service were prohibited. (“Economy Decisions up to Comptroller General,” Army and Navy Journal, July 2, 1932.) See also Marshall’s Memorandum for General Hammond, April 13, 1934, below (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-347 [1: 425-28]).
3. King also noted that “officers who had been promoted and whose services entitled them to enter another pay period since June 30, 1932, felt that they were being unduly discriminated against.” In paragraph XXII, King recommended a commendation for Marshall “for the efficient and economical administration of his duties and the high state of morale of his command.”
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. 390-391.