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Memorandum for General McNair
July 28, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The following suggestion was passed to me by a recent graduate of an Officer Candidate School:
The first hour of afternoon instruction is almost a complete loss. Candidates after a strenuous morning invariably eat practically everything that is placed before them, and as this is the heavy meal there results an overpowering tendency to fall asleep immediately afterwards. As a matter of fact the candidate’s entire attention is usually concentrated on trying to keep his eyes open and focused on the instructor, otherwise he falls asleep. Little or anything of the subject of the lecture penetrates the befogged brain.1
This appeals to me as a common sense proposition, as I suffer weekly at meetings of the Chiefs of Staff following a heavy formal luncheon which I should treat lightly but do not.
I know that the heavy meal at noon is an Army tradition just as the overcooking and too early cooking of the meat is another practice that seems impossible to change. However, in these training schools where all of the men are entirely new to the Army it might be better to give them a light luncheon and the heavy meal at night. I sometimes think that it has been the army cooks who have controlled this situation, because almost all laboring men eat a light luncheon. Yet when we got into the CCC we were forced to haul those boys sometimes fifteen or twenty miles in order to eat a heavy noon meal. This I believe was partly caused by the old mess sergeants that we brought in from the Army for the time being while the CCC was being launched.
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. This was probably from Marshall’s stepson Allen Brown.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 69-70.