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3-224 To General John J. Pershing, June 15, 1942

1942
   
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 15, 1942

Subject: World War II


To General John J. Pershing

June 15, 1942 Washington, D.C.

Confidential

Dear General:

I am enclosing a photostat of the last report on Warren, which covers the first four weeks of his course.1 No comment is necessary other than to say that he ranked 12 out of 45 on general suitability, exclusive of academic subjects.

His class graduates August 5th, and I am wondering if you would care to be present, of course, assuming that you are feeling up to standard at that time.

I was away over the week-end, went down to Leesburg late Saturday evening and spent Sunday pruning and gardening, with Katherine’s direction. This is the first time I have seen the place since last July. The lease under which our tenants operate gives us the place from early June until September 15th. They spend the summer at Newport, I believe. This is very convenient for us as we use their furniture and fixings.

Friday night I drove over to Baltimore to witness the opening of the Army Show which is to tour the country. The night before I had to dine with the King of Greece, and am due to do this again tonight at the Greek Legation. These night affairs are terribly hard on me, as I have to conserve my energies—which means plenty of sleep.

There is little to tell beyond what you see in the papers regarding the recent fight in the Pacific, except to tell you confidentially that the evidence is pretty conclusive that we sunk one cruiser in the Aleutians battle and damaged two others; also that we got one hit on a carrier up there. In the Midway battle, possibly one battleship and two heavy cruisers were sunk, one we know was knocked out by Army bombers in fifteen seconds. This has not been released to the press, as we will not have an exact report until the Naval forces return to port.2

Affectionately,

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document Format: Typed letter signed.

1. Warren Pershing had enrolled in the Engineer Replacement Training Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on May 14. (Enclosure to present document.) For Marshall’s suggestion to the younger Pershing to attend the course at Fort Belvoir, see Marshall to Pershing, December 13, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-016 [3: 18-19]. See also Marshall to Pershing, February 9, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-099 [3: 102].

2. Hits on ships and sinkings were a constant source of conflicting accounts and exaggeration. Only after the postwar investigation by the Strategic Bombing Survey and studies of Japanese records and interviews could an accurate account of Japanese losses be deduced. At Midway the Japanese lost four carriers and a heavy cruiser, over 2,000 men, and more than 250 aircraft. They also suffered heavy damage to a cruiser, medium damage to two destroyers, and slight damage to a battleship, a destroyer, and an oiler. The United States lost one carrier (Yorktown), a destroyer, 307 men, and nearly 150 aircraft in addition to heavy damage to the facilities on the Midway Islands. (Walter Karig and Eric Purdon, Pacific War: Middle Phase, a volume in Battle Report [New York: Rinehart and Company, 1947], p. 60.)

In Alaska the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor and occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu (June 6-7) at a cost of ten aircraft. Despite claims by United States flight crews, Japanese surface ships apparently escaped without damage. (Stetson Conn, Rose C. Engelman, and Byron Fairchild, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1964], p. 262.)

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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 238-239.

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