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Memorandum for the Inspector General [Peterson]
August 19, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: The selection of Individuals for the Officer Candidate Schools.
There have been some disappointments in the type of the men selected for these candidate schools. While leadership was specifically prescribed as the dominant factor in the selection and education in effect made of secondary importance, it appears that some boards seriously ignored general background and education in the selections. It would appear that some of the preferred individuals were more suitable material for noncommissioned grades than for commissioned.
As there has been a continuous and heavy pressure to authorize the commissioning of individuals after very brief service, practically selecting them before their induction into the Army, it is of importance that the procedure for the recruitment of the officer candidate schools be above criticism and that any errors that may have been made be corrected as quickly as possible. Therefore, the following instructions:
Please have a rapid inspection made of the procedure of the boards in the various corps areas and of the candidates in the several schools. As it is important to learn the results of this inspection as quickly as possible, it will be necessary to have at least three inspectors on the job.
I suggest that all the inspectors designated for this duty should collectively interview the boards of the Second, Third and Fourth Corps Areas. It might tend to produce a more uniform appreciation of conditions throughout the country.1
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. The editors have not found Inspector General Virgil L. Peterson’s investigative report, but for Marshall’s comments on the investigation, see Marshall to Devers, September 24, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-555 [2: 617-18]. In September Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, Wade H. Haislip wrote that all commanders were anxious to cooperate to improve O.C.S. selection. “It is believed that the action by the Chief of Staff in causing The Inspector General to investigate the method and procedure of selecting candidates has, in large part, already corrected many of the evils that were found to exist in the selection for the first course. (Haislip Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, September 26, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 21167-54].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 594.