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To Colonel Lawrence V. Castner
January 27, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I find this morning that final action has been taken toward your retirement for physical disability. I have had your case carefully looked into with the hope that it would be possible for you to continue on duty of some limited nature, and that in those circumstances I might find it possible to arrange for your promotion to the temporary grade of brigadier general. However, the reports of The Adjutant General and The Surgeon General indicate that this would not be fair to you or practicable otherwise of arrangement. I am very sorry to tell you this, for in view of your outstanding record in Alaska and the Aleutians, I had great hopes for your Army future.1
I hope that soon you will be sufficiently improved to engage in some activity that will occupy your attention and not jeopardize your health.
The War Department has today approved the award of the Distinguished Service Medal to you in lieu of the Legion of Merit which was presented to you last Fall. The citation for this higher award makes specific reference to the hazardous advance landings that you organized and led in the Aleutians.2
This note carries with it my appreciation of your outstanding qualities of leadership demonstrated during the Aleutians campaign.
With my best wishes for an early and satisfactory readjustment in your life, and with my thanks for your fine services,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Castner (U.S.M.A., 1923) was assistant chief of staff, G-2, of the Alaska Defense Command between November 1940 and September 1943. A retiring board found him incapacitated for active service due to several physical disabilities, including coronary thrombosis, and the surgeon general considered him not physically qualified for limited service. (McCarthy Memorandum for Chief of Staff, January 21, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
2. General Marshall made a determined effort to see that Castner received the Distinguished Service Medal. The citation recognized that “he contributed greatly to the success of the operations to clear the enemy from the Aleutians by organizing the Alaskan Scouts, used for reconnaissance work in the Aleutians, and personally leading them in an advance landing at Adak, making a hazardous journey by submarine and landing in a rough, cold sea on a dangerous shore in small rubber boats.” (Pasco Memorandums for the Chief of Staff, January 24 and 26, 1944; “Citation for Distinguished Service Medal,” ibid.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 254.