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Memorandum for General Malony1
April 21, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation, while horse-back riding at Belvoir with the Commander of the Engineer Replacement Training Center.2 In his opinion the instruction the Reserve officers were getting in the Training Center was much more effective than that Reserve officers were receiving in the Engineer School. The latter, of necessity, was largely theoretical, except as to some weapons, while the Training Center work was highly practical and a wonderful development in the handling of men. I gathered that it was his understanding that the head of the School at Belvoir was very much of the same opinion. If this is a correct estimate of the situation, then we are wasting effort in running schools on the basis we now do for Reserve officers, and missing a good bet in the development of officers in the Training centers.
Colonel Hoge told me that the training as he saw it was the finest development he had witnessed in his Army career, but that he had no reserve of any kind and his officers were going about 14 hours a day, either working with the men or being schooled for the next day’s work. He thought that each company should have a surplus officer who would be benefiting by the training and would be available to take off the pressure. Undoubtedly we must not hold officers at training centers for prolonged periods because it would be too much strain on the individual and too discouraging to feel that he is making no progress toward a troop organization. It seems to me that there is a possibility here for a combination and an economy in our school and training effort. I do not want Hoge’s opinions quoted at his expense, but I would like you to do this:
Get together an informal group, such as General Kingman, Engineers, General Hodges, Infantry, Danford, Field Artillery, Huebner from your Section, and the corresponding man from G-1, and take them down to Belvoir to see a day’s work and to talk over the whole matter with the various individuals concerned. Maybe there is a good idea here, and as Belvoir is very convenient, I think you can make a preliminary check on it in an informal manner.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Brigadier General Harry J. Malony was the assistant chief of staff, G-3, from April 9 to 23, 1941.
2. Lieutenant Colonel William M. Hoge (U.S.M.A., 1916) was the executive officer of the Engineer Replacement Training Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
3. The officers referred to are: Brigadier General John J. Kingman (U.S.M.A., 1904), assistant to the chief of Engineers; Major General Courtney H. Hodges of the Office of the Chief of Infantry; Major General Robert M. Danford (U.S.M.A., 1904), the chief of Field Artillery; and Lieutenant Colonel Clarence R. Huebner, chief of the G-3 division’s Training Branch.
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. 481-482.