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Memorandum for General Embick
August 22, 1938 [Washington, D.C.]
Retention of highly trained technical personnel.
A special policy or regulation is suggested to cover the matter of the present serious loss to the Air Corps, the Signal Corps, and possibly the Engineers and Ordnance Services, of enlisted men who have been provided, at material expense, with special training in various technical or mechanical pursuits. At the present time, the training of mechanics and similar specialists, weather men, etc., has been complicated by the fact that these men fail to reenlist, or that they purchase their discharges in order to accept more lucrative positions in civil life. To meet this considerable drain, classes have had to be larger and the Services have seldom been fully provided with the trained personnel required.
It would seem that men reporting for such training, which is usually sought by the individual, should be discharged and immediately reenlisted for three years, with the distinct understanding at the time that discharge by purchase would not be permitted. In this way, the Services concerned could be provided with trained men with something over two years to serve, and with the probability that many who would otherwise have purchased their discharges would continue on because of the increased ratings and rank that come with length of service. There is the possibility that the resulting economies would, in effect, provide an increase in available personnel for troops and depots.
The Congressional pressure for one-year enlistments which has been met by a generous policy in permitting discharge by purchase, could be satisfactorily met, I am sure, by the logic and resulting economy of the proposed exception.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
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. 618-619.