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Memorandum for General Somervell
December 18, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
On all of my inspection trips I have endeavored, though in a very superficial and hurried manner, to determine whether or not the permanent post or camp personnel command was being run to the best advantage of the combat troop personnel and command. In most places that I have visited it seemed to me that matters functioned satisfactorily, however I am uncertain about the situation at Camp McClellan though I have few facts to go on.
My guess is that the Post Commander hews so closely to the line in regulations that too frequently reasons are found for not doing things which are desired by the troop commander. As a small example, I have the question of the painting of the frames of certain targets which had become so weathered that it was practically impossible for the troops to see them. No paint could be used because of some regulation. I am quite certain this was not the intent of the regulation for training of troops is the purpose of the camp.
While I have no specific other example, the general impression I got was that there should be a check-up on the camp commander.
I ascertained another item in my questioning, this relating to the Post Exchange. It appears that during two months, July and August, no dividends were paid to the troops. I understand there was a change of regulations which necessitated building up of local reserves and funds, however my inquiries at two other posts in the next 36 hours did not develop any failure to pay dividends. Again I am curious to know whether or not this cessation of dividends in one place and continuance in another rested on the interpretation of the Post Commander, who was leaning over backward on the regulations and certainly not forward as regarded the troops.
As I understand it, in July certain Army Regulations regarding Army Post Exchanges were considerably altered, which necessitated building up of reserves in local Post Exchanges, which was reported to have caused dividends to have ceased until another change took place in October. Considering the fact that a sum of over one hundred thousand dollars was paid by the Camp McClellan Exchange to the Army Exchange Service in October and the Army Welfare Fund received about seven thousand dollars at the same time, it does not seem reasonable that no provision was made for the dry period of July and August and most of September when dividends to the local personnel were restricted.1
I do not want to set up an elaborate investigation of pros and cons, but I do want you to find out whether or not the commanding officer at McClellan is all that he should be in his attitude toward the welfare of the command. While looking into this matter it might be well to check up on the quarters, permanent buildings, etc., occupied by the Station Complement.2
I do not wish my name brought into this matter.
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. A change in army regulations “to effect a reorganization and more business-like procedure in connection with non-appropriated funds and of exchange finances” and not a misinterpretation by the post commander caused the temporary cessation of dividends to the troops at Fort McClellan, Somervell reported. Some other posts had already built up the working capital required; thus they continued to pay dividends. (Somervell Memorandum for General Marshall, December 21, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. An investigation indicated that the post commander, executive officer, and post engineer should be replaced, according to Somervell. (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. 697-698.