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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 17, 1944 Radio No. 124 Washington, D.C.
From Marshall for Eisenhower’s Eyes Only.
Detailed reports of the 7th Division operation against Kwajalein Island in the Marshalls indicate that General Corlett’s training of the division, cooperation with the Navy (Turner incidentally) plan of battle, landing, artillery support, tank and infantry action, organization of beaches for supply, continuity of methodical effort and even details of burial of his dead, etc, approached perfection.1 He has been designated to command training corps in Hawaii but if you care to use him as a corps commander he will be flown to you immediately.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-7225, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner commanded the Southern Attack Force which was given the task of capturing Kwajalein Island and the surrounding islands in the southern part of the atoll. Major General Charles H. Corlett commanded the Southern Landing Force which was composed mainly of the Seventh Infantry Division. American forces landed on Kwajalein Island on February 1, 1944, and had secured the island by February 4. The operation had achieved surprise and was ably executed. “Artillery preparation, naval gunfire, and aerial bombardment had softened up the target in a fashion unexcelled at any other time in the Pacific war. The ship-to-shore movement had been conducted expeditiously and without serious hitch. Supplies flowed ashore and to the front lines smoothly and without interruption. The infantry-engineer teams assisted by tanks moved steadily, if somewhat more slowly than had been anticipated, up the axis of the island clearing the enemy from shelters and pillboxes.” According to historians Crowl and Love, “except for the occasional failure of tank-infantry co-ordination, no important deficiency had been revealed in the execution of the plan.” (Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1955], pp. 170-71, 289-90; for a detailed discussion of the operation, see pp. 219-301.)
2. “Corlett’s early arrival here will be of great advantage to us,” Eisenhower replied on February 19. (Papers of DDE, 3: 1736.) Corlett assumed command of the Nineteenth Army Corps in March 1944.
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. 306-307.