4-421 Memorandum for General White, June 23, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 23, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General White

June 23, 1944 Washington, D.C.

I continue to receive an increasing number of objections to our rotation system as regards rank. Are you sure that you have taken the most realistic view of this matter?

I am aware of the complications of sending men overseas in lower grades and having returned from overseas men of higher grades. Also I am aware of the long time which elapses before the completion of a single transfer. However, I was informed in the field of numerous incidents where units were without senior officers for quite a long period awaiting the arrival of some inexperienced man of similar rank.1

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), 210.31, National Archives and Records Service, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. Major General Miller G. White, assistant chief of staff, G-1, responded on June 24 that as more American combat units were deployed overseas there was an increasing surplus of field grade officers and noncommissioned officers remaining in the United States. White noted that the theaters’ complaint was not consistent. “The North African Theater has . . . requisitioned lieutenant colonels and colonels for combat commands, stating that they did not have officers qualified for promotion to fill vacancies occasioned by the removal of unsatisfactory officers or by battle and non-battle casualties,” replied White. The European theater had made a similar request. “It is not reasonable to request replacements in grade for unsatisfactory officers and for battle casualties, and at the same time object to replacement of rotated personnel in grade,” asserted White. The travel delays were a matter of theater administration, but in any case, as an attempt to improve morale rotation was a failure. “We have neither the personnel nor the shipping to increase the rate of rotation, yet any soldier can calculate that rotation of 1% a month will require 8 years for completion, and that rotation of 1/2% a month (the North African rate) will require 16 years. The effect on the men not rotated is extremely bad, and has been reflected in soldiers’ mail and in complaints from Congressional and other sources,” stated White. He informed Marshall that by autumn the current rotation system would have to be abandoned. Future policies would need to include some type of rest in the United States and return of an individual to his parent unit. Considering that this change must ultimately be made, White recommended no change in current rotation policies. (White Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, June 24, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 210.311.)

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. 491-492.

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