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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower1
October 5, 1943 [Radio No. 9354.] Washington, D.C.
From Marshall for Eisenhower.
We have a pressing problem here to build up the morale and the reputation of the infantry soldier. Because of various classifications for mechanical and other special qualities too many men have been allocated to the infantry because they did not fit into any other slot. I do not need to tell you that an aggressive, skillful infantry is vital to our success and that the individual courage, stamina, pride and relentless purpose of the infantry soldier is essential for the infantry organization.
We receive far too little in the way of appreciations in press reports or citations for the infantry soldier. There is a board here now from the ground services considering with G-1 what might be done to better the situation.
General Surles is concentrating his forces on this question but he needs strong assistance from the field. The air forces by means of decorations have built up morale against the hazards of the service but to a certain extent this amounts to an embarrassment, notably in the case of pilots of transport planes receiving decorations when the man who took the ride in the plane and jumped from the plane and landed in the rear of the enemy has received none.
I would like your recommendations, your assistance and an energetic effort made to improve this situation.2
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 commanding generals in the South Pacific Area (Harmon) and Southwest Pacific Area (MacArthur).
2. Eisenhower replied: “I am highly delighted that the War Department is undertaking as a studied project the task of giving the infantry soldier his due and of building up his morale. We here have made some attempts along this line in the past but I will immediately organize our efforts along comprehensive lines to support Surles in this necessary work.” (Papers of DDE, 3: 1491.) For further developments regarding Infantry morale, see Marshall to MacArthur, October 27, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-147 [4: 169-70].
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. 143-144.