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To Brigadier General Omar N. Bradley1
July 22, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
I noticed a press write-up on the Candidate School at Benning which stated that there were but eleven selectees. I wish you would write direct to me and tell me frankly what your reaction is as to the selections made for this first group.2 Also I would like your reactions to a possible increase in the numbers within your present plant facilities, and again if we move the 4th Division away. In the latter event, quite probably a portion of the space would have to be taken up for a three months training course for National Guard and Reserve officers.
I wish you would give me your reaction to another proposition: do you think it possible to send to divisions a team which would in effect set up the faculty, demonstrate the technique and give the standards for a school for brightening up the junior officers?
I would like to have your reaction to the proposition of sending National Guard lieutenants to Training Centers as supernumeraries for a month and then passing them into the regular job of training selectees for three or four months before being returned to their regiments.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Bradley had been promoted to brigadier general in February 1941 and had become the commandant of the Infantry School in March.
2. The first men to attend the Officer Candidate School were “a fine, selected group of noncommissioned officers,” Bradley replied; “a large percentage of this group will make excellent company officers.” The first group had been expected to be largely from the Regular Army, “because of the limited number of selectees and National Guardsmen who have sufficient federal service.” Moreover, Bradley had been informed that “many of the best qualified selectees are not interested in attending the candidate school. Apparently they want to finish their year and get back to their jobs.” (Bradley to Marshall, July 26, 1941, NA/RG 407 [General, 352 (2-19-40)(1)(Sec. 1)].)
3. To Marshall’s three other inquiries, Bradley responded: (1) the number of officer candidates could be expanded without difficulty; (2) he did not believe that sending such teams to divisions as the chief of staff suggested was feasible at present; (3) National Guard lieutenants should spend only one week at the replacement centers. (Ibid.) In a letter drafted in the G-1 division, Marshall replied that the number of officer candidates would be increased from two hundred per month to three hundred as soon as possible. The chief of staff agreed with Bradley’s conclusions on teams to divisions and decided to drop the idea of sending National Guard lieutenants to replacement centers. (Marshall to Bradley, August 15, 1941, ibid.)
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. 574.