4-148 To General Douglas MacArthur, October 27, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 27, 1943

Subject: World War II

To General Douglas MacArthur1

October 27, 1943 Radio Washington, D.C.


Personal for MacArthur from Marshall.

Our new regulation covering the citation of units was sent to you in our Radio of October 15th.2 Lest this has not come to your personal attention, I want you to know that it is designed to give commanders in the field authority to recognize a unit’s exceptional performance in battle and, at the same time, permit the individuals in the unit to be promptly accorded the privilege of wearing the badge signifying their demonstrated combat quality. It appeared here that the citation of units was taking the form of a general citation of every division engaged in battle, much as occurred in [the A.E.F. in] France, with the result that the omission of a citation virtually amounted to condemnation of the unit concerned.

From all reports received here from officers who had been in combat and from War Department and other observers, it appeared that a long delayed and very general appreciation of the services of a division was of less importance than a prompt citation of small units, companies, or battalions. To provide the necessary accelerant for this type of citation authority has been decentralized to commanders in the field.

In considering other means to stimulate the morale of Infantry units, a decision has just been made to provide two qualification badges for the Infantry soldier, the first based on his demonstrated capacity during the training period, and the second on his actual performance in combat. They recognize the individual first as an expert infantryman and second as a combat infantryman. These badges are now being struck off and shortly will be sent by air to your theater together with a circular concerning the required qualifications.

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. This message was also sent to the U.S. commanding generals in the Mediterranean (Eisenhower), China-Burma-India (Stilwell), European (Devers), and South Pacific (Harmon) theaters and to Alaska Defense Command head Simon Buckner.

2. War Department Circular No. 269, October 27, 1943, stated: “The present war has demonstrated the importance of highly proficient, tough, hard, and aggressive infantry, which can be obtained only by developing a high degree of individual all-around proficiency on the part of every infantryman. As a means of attaining the high standards desired and to foster esprit de corps in infantry units, the Expert Infantryman and Combat Infantryman badges are established for infantry personnel.” Regarding Marshall’s concern for Infantry morale, see Marshall to Eisenhower, October 5, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-122 [4: 143-44].

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), pp. 170-171.

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