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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 25, 1944 Radio No. 175 Washington, D.C.
From Marshall to Eisenhower for his eyes only.
Reference your 11774 regarding replacement of Reinhardt with Walker.1 The fighting at Cassino did not indicate that Walker had aggressive qualities such as you will require in a Corps Commander. Furthermore I would hesitate to take away from Clark in the present difficult situation in Italy a Division Commander who appears to be acceptable to him.
The doctors state that Middleton’s arthritic knee would give him trouble if he submits it to severe usage or prolonged periods of cramped position. I telephoned Middleton this morning in the Tennessee area where he is in command of a Corps in maneuvers and he tells me that since his long jeep rides and steep hill climbing in Italy his knee has given him practically no trouble, that it had not given him for years past. He feels competent for duties of the OVERLORD type. I told him that the serious matter was in sending a Corps Commander who might later have to be relieved.
McNarney had talked to General Marietta at Walter Reed regarding Middleton and the general medical feeling is, and McNarney’s opinion having talked to Middleton some time ago, that Middleton could go through the training phase the landing phase and at least a portion of the fighting phase in OVERLORD; that later the strain of service might require his relief. Of course he might be put out as a casualty for other reasons during the same period. I have gone over all Corps Command possibilities and Middleton seems so much the more able of those available that I believe it better to take him with the possible later physical complications. Radio me your desires.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-10685, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Eisenhower had sent a message to Marshall on February 24, 1944, stating: “In further acknowledgment of your willingness to give me experienced Corps Commanders, request either Troy Middleton (if in good health) or Fred Walker in exchange for Reinhardt, now commanding VIII Corps.” (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. W-11774, February 24, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Eisenhower agreed with the chief of staff. “I am struggling my best to get a high degree of combat experience represented in this force and I am quite ready to take a chance on Middleton’s arthritis. This means of course that I will have another surplus Corps commander, namely Reinhardt. I dislike exceedingly to pass any problem of this type on you but since these men, who were previously selected by others as Corps Commanders, are being relieved merely because we here believe someone else is better suited to their jobs and not because of demonstrated inefficiency I feel that there is no other way out.” (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. W-11884, February 26, 1944, NA/RG 165 [ODD, TS Message File (CM-IN- I 8468)].) Major General Emil F. Reinhardt returned to the United States in March 1944 to take command of the Ninth Corps at Fort McDherson, Georgia, and in September he assumed command of the Sixty-ninth Infantry Division which joined the forces in the European theater in December 1944. Major General Shelley U. Marietta was commanding officer of Walter Reed General Hospital and Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
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. 317-318.