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Memorandum for General Somervell1
December 29, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I should like the question of officer strengths and officer replacements to active theaters to be rechecked. From a very superficial point of view it seems to me that we have entirely too many officers assigned to organizations and that when we send units to an active theater the procedure of the commander there has had to be one of stripping out officers from these units for employment in the various special posts that invariably develop.
If I am right in this assumption would it not be better to carry units at a lower strength and to give unit commanders a pool of young officers with a small proportionate number of older officers, so that they will not have to strip units for special duties, staff appointments and so on, and they will be able to keep them up to their full strength in officer personnel?2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 320.2, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. This document was also addressed to Generals McNair, Edwards, and White.
2. Somervell replied: “I consider your suggestion for the establishment of a pool of officers in each active theater a sound one. This officer pool could be used for making replacements, or for filling miscellaneous special posts, which invariably develop in a theater. It is believed that the Theater Commander should give some indication of the size and composition of the pool desired. This should also be done for enlisted personnel.” (Somervell Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, December 30, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 320.2 (12-29-42)].)
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. 494-495.