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To Colonel Edgar A. Fry1
November 19, 1934 [Chicago, Illinois]
My dear Colonel Fry:
I am trying to iron out the difficulties in the way of a program for the middle of next May which we think will give a tremendous boost to the weapon efficiency of the 33d Division. With the assistance of the C.W.A. the target range at Camp Logan, within easy access of seventy-five percent of the State troops, has been placed in excellent condition, and not only has ample facilities in the way of targets, but has excellent facilities for putting five hundred men over night—the State maintaining a mess.
We plan to assemble all the company officers of the Infantry, Cavalry and Engineers at Camp Logan on Thursday night, May 16th, and give them a regular Benning school of arms course until Sunday evening. Rifle and machine gun, one pounder and the Stokes will be fully covered, and a briefer course on the automatic rifle for selected officers, who will also have to take the rifle course. I plan to have fifteen Regular Army Instructors, a similar number of noncommissioned officers and about ten Benning graduates from the National Guard to carry through the affair. This is arranged in May so as to have the officers ready to conduct the firing instruction of their companies in June and July.
I find that, except in a few instances, the actual instruction of enlisted men is very haphazard, as most of the officers have not the ability and knowledge to act as satisfactory instructors. The result is a great deal of the ammunition is absolutely wasted, and from what I have been able to learn most of the combat firing at camp has been a complete waste of ammunition, until last Summer.
To correct this situation several things are necessary. The officers must be thoroughly trained as instructors, which seldom can be managed successfully by the instructor during the armory period of training. The firing must be largely completed before going to camp in August and for two reasons,—there is no time at Camp Grant for known distance firing if we are to make any progress in tactical instruction, and the musketry and combat firing is an absurdity unless the known distance firing has already been carried through. Also, while heretofore they have attempted to scramble through their known distance firing after camp, that is the least likely period for getting the men out.
Now, with all the company officers completely in the hands of a corps of Regular Army Instructors for three days on a fine range, I think we can do wonders to improve the situation, and I purpose having the complete school for machine gun companies and howitzer organizations at Camp Grant this Summer.
The difficulty in the matter is this—your regulations, or rather your Project 11, Program of Expenditures for support of the National Guard, does not permit the expenditure of any money for range-keepers after October 31st. I made a beginning in this matter last June, with the result that the State had to finance the range-keepers for that month. Is there any possibility of getting the small sum necessary for next June? Also, will it be possible for us to make a saving between the middle of September and October 31st—or a longer period—in the 1936 money, to be used in June of 1936?
You had some correspondence with General Black regarding this, when you disallowed last June’s expenditures (June 13, 1934, file 230.147, Ill. 34).
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Fry, once a student of Marshall’s at the School of the Line (1908-9), worked in the Office of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
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. 447-448.