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Report to the Commanding General,
Sixth Corps Area1
June 19, 1934 Chicago, Illinois
1. The following detailed report on the Illinois National Guard is submitted:
2. a. Organization and Administration.
No comments. Generally up to a satisfactory standard.
The 33d Division lacks portions of its heavy artillery, Medical Regiment and Q.M. Trains that should be provided at an early date, to render the Division more effective for immediate use in a theatre of operation.
b. Command and Administration.
(1) Command,—Generally of a high standard of leadership, except in a few cases now being adjusted. Evidence of steady improvement in the quality of command.
(2) Administration,—Generally satisfactory. Improvement shown in handling routine business.
(3) Federal Inspection,—For the first time in years not a unit received an “unsatisfactory” rating.
Equipment in excellent shape, except as to war time motor vehicles and tanks. Clothing has suffered from reduced maintenance allowances, and from a long period of strike duty for a number of units.2
d. Housing and Care of Property.
Superior at present. The general renovation and improvement of all armories—especially of storerooms—through the labor and funds provided by the C.W.A., has placed every thing on an exceptionally favorable basis. Approximately $1,500,000 of C.W.A. funds were expended on armories and target ranges.3
3. Efficiency as compared to preceding year.
Improvement apparent in training and quality of officer personnel. Probably a loss of efficiency in enlisted personnel, due to reduction in pay drills and the effect on morale of unemployment. However, the elaborate C.W.A. program for the Illinois National Guard, which provided many special jobs as paymasters and pay guards, and aroused active interest in the general improvement of all armory plants, probably offset much of the ill effect of reduced pay and pay drills and the situation as to unemployment.
4. a. Strong Points.
(1) High Morale.
(2) Confidence in ability to handle difficult tasks, due to recognized ability and World War experience of most of the officers in important command and staff positions.
(3) Progressive work in Army Extension Courses.
(4) High standard of efficiency of field artillery units and of Engineers.
(5) Excellence of practical plans for meeting domestic disturbances, and intimate familiarity of officers with these plans.
b. Weak Points.
(1) Casual attitude of some subordinate headquarters in carrying out routine instructions.
(2) Tendency to make staffs the dumping ground for the less effective officers. This is being rapidly overcome in some staffs, but there remain examples of weak staff organizations.
(3) Infantry tactical training in general, and in communication and staff work in particular.
Corrective measures are being taken, but the problem is a very difficult one to solve satisfactorily with so limited a period for field training.
(4) Excessive turn over in enlisted personnel, especially in infantry units.
(5) Low attendance of certain units at drills.
5. Suggestions and Recommendations.
National Guard administration and training usually suffers from an over dose of paper. The essential requirements are drowned in a mass of less important matters presented in instructions, programs and schedules. It is important when dealing with busy men, not to flood them with literature for their instruction or guidance. This should be held to a minimum, and strict compliance with the instructions then required. Many of the deficiencies or weaknesses seemingly inherent in the National Guard are largely due in my opinion, to an unwise policy which produces voluminous papers and promotes paper work, breeding a generally careless attitude on the part of the recipients. Regular Army efficiency can survive such administrative burdens, but the National Guard officer, with the limited time for military matters at his disposal, is seriously and adversely effected.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the United States Army Continental Commands 1020-1942 (RG 394), Records of the Sixth Corps Area, Illinois National Guard File, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Typed report.
1. Marshall’s report on the Illinois National Guard for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1934, submitted to Major General Preston Brown, Sixth Corps Area commander.
2. Years of declining standards of living, conflicts between labor and management, and factional fighting within the United Mine Workers union in the Illinois coal fields had culminated in violence in August, 1932, and the calling out of units of the Illinois National Guard. Strikes continued into 1933.
3. The Civil Works Administration (C.W.A.), headed by Harry L. Hopkins, was created in the late autumn of 1933 to give temporary employment to some four million unemployed persons during the winter of 1933-34. The C.W.A lasted approximately three and one-half months; then it was absorbed into the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 433-435.