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Memorandum for General McNarney1
October 11, 1943 Washington, D.C.
Apropos of the recent Troop Basis I am not sufficiently clear in my mind as to the replacement requirements for the first six months of 1944.2 When do we begin to cannibalize on the tail of the Army and at what rate? What are the prospective economies in troops in the Eastern and Western Defense Commands in the first six months of 1944? Have we considered furloughing to civil life, with the provision that the furlough will be canceled if the individual is not placed in a war industry, a proportion of the men evacuated from the war theaters, particularly the South and Southwest Pacific, after lengthy service or heavy malarial disabilities out there, etc.?
General Somervell in his report of a few days ago suggested that if we could provide 3,000 replacements immediately to a division coming out of the line in the South Pacific, that unit would be ready for return to the line probably two or three months earlier than otherwise. This suggested to my mind the thought that a certain proportion of the men who have created casualties for which these replacements are intended, have probably been in that theater a long time as well as suffering physical disabilities. It is these men that I thought might be furloughed into war industries after a month’s vacation or so over here.
It also occurred to me that possibly men who have been in the theater for a certain length of time could be given the option of returning to the States or, where their service has justified it, promotion for remaining in the theater.
Please talk these matters over and be ready to discuss them quite informally with me in about a week. Don’t go into the preparation of a lengthy study.3
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 320.2, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. This memorandum was also addressed to the assistant chiefs of staff for personnel (Miller G. White) and organization and training (Ray E. Porter).
2. Marshall had received from G-3 a lengthy memorandum titled “Troop Basis, 1943,” revising the projected operational requirements for manpower up to June 30, 1944. The memorandum noted that, in order to provide for additional service units and overhead, the personnel allotted to divisions and combat and service support had been cut by about 164,000 out of the total authorized U.S. Army strength of 7,700,000. (Porter Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 2, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 320.2 (October 12, 1943)].)
3. The army’s “Troop Basis” document was formally revised and published semiannually and changes were quickly reflected in procurement activities. At this time General Staff departments were working on a revision of the 1943 Troop Basis and writing the 1944 document. (Handy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 21, 1943, ibid.)
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. 151-152.