4-264 Memorandum for General McNair, February 20, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 20, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General McNair

February 20, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Attached is a radio received this morning from General Devers in response to one of mine regarding the command situation in the 5th Army.1 It is for your eyes only, and please return it to me under special cover.

To meet the situation he refers to as to regimental command, I wish you to do the following as quickly as possible. Let me have a list of about 8 Infantry Colonels or Lieut. Colonels, 5 of the Armored Force, the same of Artillery, 3 of Engineers and these last can go down as low as Majors, and 2 of Signal Corps. Select them from the divisions that are not scheduled to leave the United States before June 30th. I want names of the best men, the most aggressive, vigorous men that you can spot.

My purpose is to give these names to Devers and to tell him that if he so desires, they will be sent to him by air in order that he can have them serve on the staff of regiments that are in action long enough to give them the necessary experience and for him to determine whether or not it is wise to place them in command of the units they are with or those next to enter the line.

It seems to me we have a chance here not only to assist him but to gain a great deal of battle experience. Possibly he could return to us those who have lacked in vigor but displayed the qualities of leadership, and they could be used here for training units low on the schedule for service abroad.2

This brings up the question of Lucas. He has had a wealth of experience and quite evidently is tired out. I want to save his pride, I want to protect his reputation and, at the same time, get the best benefit of his service. Would you have a place for him? It might be that Eisenhower would like to have him in England to check with them on the various plans and training they are now in process of carrying out.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. See the previous document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-263 [4: 311-12]).

2. The following day, Marshall sent to Devers a list of twenty-three men “carefully selected by McNair for youth, leadership, vigor and troop experience.” (Marshall to Devers, Radio No. 380, February 21, 1944, NA/ RG 165 [ODD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-9053)].)

3. Major General John D. Lucas returned to the United States in March 1944 and served as deputy commander and commander of the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

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. 312-313.

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