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To Colonel Horace F. Sykes1
December 27, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington
Major Klein gave me your nice message of greeting,2 which I appreciated. However, I am writing this letter to you personally to seek your official influence in a case in which I am deeply interested.
There is going forward to your headquarters today the promotion board report on one 2nd Lieutenant Charles W. G. Rich, 7th Inf.3 In it the doctors find him partially color blind. The facts are, he successfully entered West Point, successfully passed his physical examination there for his commission as a second lieutenant, failed to pass the air corps test, and has successfully reacted to thousands of red and green stop lights in the every-day business of driving a car.
More than this, he is an officer of unusual promise, who recently made a fine showing in the army maneuvers, commanding my only reserve in about ten engagements. He is far too good to lose and, in my military opinion, it would be a distinct loss to the government—while some slow witted fellow who knows “alice blue” is kept on.
The board, I understood, does not find his lack of color sense disabling. Please see if you can’t maneuver this business so that we do not throw out a superior type over a technicality, and carry along the dead wood, as is usually the case.
I want to see you, one of these days, and talk things over. Motored through Fort Reno on my way west. Have not forgotten your fine note of congratulations.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Vancouver Barracks, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Sykes was the Ninth Corps Area adjutant general.
2. Major John A. Klein was assistant adjutant general of the Ninth Corps Area.
3. Rich (U.S.M.A., 1935) was kept in the army, remaining at Vancouver Barracks until mid-1938, when he reported for student officer’s duty at the Infantry School.
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), p. 575.