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Memorandum for Major General John T. Lewis1
October 11, 1943 Washington, D.C.
Yesterday in coming in from Leesburg I picked up a soldier, an antiaircraft artilleryman, 25 years of age, on duty near Alexandria, who had been in the service for 33 months and in the District of Washington for 22 months. As I was in civilian clothes he did not know to whom he was talking. He appeared to be a reasonably conservative, nice country boy. Incidentally, he confessed to me that he had been drinking too much; that his first drink had been taken on the urging of some woman and that he had been in the service for 18 months before he took his first drink so he could not blame it on the Army.
The point in this to me is the retention in the District of Washington of young men for such long periods. I had understood that the AA set-up here was more or less a training establishment but the information I obtained in this boy’s case would indicate that we are holding here for practically the duration of the war young men who ought to be overseas. I asked him about how many he thought had had as long service in the District as he had had and he guessed about 50%.
Please give me a memorandum on this because I am not at all satisfied with this heavy set-up in the District particularly if young men are being held here for such long periods.2
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), 220.31, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Lewis had commanded the Military District of Washington, D.C., since May 1942.
2. Lewis replied that only 6 men in the district’s Antiaircraft Command had been there twenty-two months and that transfers to units outside the area averaged 160 men per month. He recommended that the district’s battalions be sent overseas as needed, which would “assure rotation of all antiaircraft personnel.” (Lewis Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 13, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 220.31].)
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. 150-151.