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To Colonel Fay W. Brabson1
October 11, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Yesterday I received an envelope in your handwriting enclosing clippings regarding the return of the 45th Division.2 This reminded me of my intention of some time past to write you a note.
This must be confidential, but I want you to know that it had been my hope to find it possible to give Camp Commanders, of the larger installations, the rank of Brigadier General. I approved your transfer to that line of duty, and Beebe’s assignment to Camp Jackson,3 with that end in view. However, I was unable to put this across, which is a matter of deep regret to me.
While I have been allowed great freedom in the selection of officers for promotion, there have been two presidential limitations or restrictions which have steadily increased in severity. One refers to staff appointments which are constantly opposed, in contrast to a willingness to permit promotions for troop commanders, and the other refers to the age of officers recommended for advancement. The combination of these two factors has had marked effect on what has occurred. By staff appointments, I mean any position other than a tactical command. The exceptions have been largely in the Ordnance Department and for important foreign countries, or where the officer was being penalized by the job he was held on because of his marked qualifications for high troop command.
It would have given me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction to have seen you approach your retirement period in the grade of general officer. I am sincerely sorry that I have not been able to accomplish this.
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. A friend of Marshall since they were students together at the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1906-7, Brabson commanded Camp Barkeley, near Abilene, Texas.
2. The Forty-fifth Division (composed of National Guard units from Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico) had recently returned to Camp Barkeley from the September maneuvers between the Second and Third armies on the Texas-Louisiana border.
3. Colonel Royden E. Beebe had been a student with Marshall and Brabson at the Infantry and Cavalry School. He was scheduled to take command of the post at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
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), pp. 638-639.