3-641 Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-11, May 5, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 5, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-11

May 5, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]

I am a little confused in this matter of unit citations. Have we defined a policy which covers citations of units by higher commanders such as Corps or Army and theater commanders and then by the War Department? If so I would like to see the policy.

It seems to me the breakdown in this matter would be that between the individual citation of a unit and the single citation of a number of units such as is indicated in what occurred in the AEF. For psychological reasons it is important to recognize the services of units which have been engaged in a successful battle; at the same time we should place a very high standard of performance for a citation directed to a single unit.

I have attempted a redraft of your proposal, but I am too much in the dark as to the general policy at present to come to any decision in the matter.


SUBJECT: Organization citations in War Department General Orders.

TO:Commanding Generals Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, Army Service Forces; all theaters, task forces and defense commands.

Citations of organizations which have so far been submitted to the War Department in this war indicate the need for a more uniform policy relating to such citations. Individual unit citations to be published in War Department General Orders should only be recommended for those units which have outstandingly distinguished themselves in action against the enemy. The conduct of such a unit might be compared to that for which the Distinguished Service Cross or higher award would be bestowed upon an individual.2

Where several units have carried out a successful operation in a commendable but not exceptional manner the policy should be followed of citing them by individual designation but grouped in a single paragraph of the order.

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. Brigadier General Miller G. White had been assistant chief of staff, G-1, since September 1942.

2. The Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded to armed forces units for extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy on or after December 7, 1941. The degree of heroism was that required to warrant award of the Distinguished Service Cross to an individual. Executive Order 9075 of February 26, 1942, authorized and directed the secretary of war to issue citations “in the name of the President of the United States, as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction, to any organization, unit, detachment, or installation of the Army of the United States . . . for outstanding performance of duty in action.” (Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America: Cumulative Supplement, Titles 1-3 [Washington: GPO, 1943], p. 1100.)

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. 680-681.

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