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Memorandum for General Somervell
October 6, 1942 Washington, D.C.
With regard to your memorandum of October sixth transmitting General Osborn’s study on “Attitude of Troops Towards the War” it occurs to me that possibly some valuable use might be made of a wide distribution of details regarding the fighting incidents of the Marines with the Japanese, on Bataan, etc., illustrative of their toughness, tenacity of purpose, utter willingness to die, refusals to surrender—a general ruthless purpose which only great determination and skill can conquer.1
We have received copies of two letters describing the fighting in Guadalcanal. Colonel Ritchie has just given me an account of the fighting at Milne Bay (a portion of which we could not give publicity to).2 These actual incidents of American contacts I believe can be utilized to show our men what a tough game they are into and that no half-hearted measures will satisfy.
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), 384, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Somervell’s memorandum—which transmitted a report from Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn’s Special Services Division—listed the steps that the division was taking “to improve the attitude of the troops towards the war” and asked the chief of staff to indicate “any additional fields which you feel we should cover.” (Somervell Memorandum for General Marshall, October 6, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 384].)
2. For information concerning Colonel William L. Ritchie’s mission, see Marshall Memorandum for General Handy, September 8, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-322 [3: 351-52]. The August 26-September 4 battle around Milne Bay, in which Australian troops defeated the southern prong of the pincer movement aimed at Port Moresby, is discussed in Samuel Milner, Victory in Papua, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1957), pp. 77-88.
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 389-390.