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To General Joseph T. McNarney
August 18, 1945 Radio. Washington, D.C.
From Marshall for McNarney.
G-1 is working on a reply to your letter to me of July 31 regarding theater campaign ribbons to war correspondents, Red Cross, etc.1 Meanwhile please radio me regarding the last sentence of the second paragraph “so far we have made no etc.”2 I cannot understand at all why this should be the case. You certainly had a number of war correspondents who qualified whether they were still in Italy or not. It would appear to me on the surface that there has been a failure in the theater to do what was desired.3
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. On the origins of this issue, see Marshall to Smith, March 30, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-078 [5: 108].
2. McNarney, commanding general of the U.S. Army’s Mediterranean Theater of Operations, had written that theater ribbon awards to Red Cross workers were rare, and “so far we have made no awards to War Correspondents or other civilians,” in part because of the difficulty of determining when their service had been exceptional. This policy was causing a serious morale problem among the civilians. He recommended that either the ribbon be awarded whenever a civilian had served with the army overseas for six months and had contributed to soldiers’ morale and the successful prosecution of the war, or that the award to civilians be discontinued. (McNarney to Marshall, July 31, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
3. Marshall soon clarified the standards for ribbon awards to war correspondents and had the Personnel Division work on the problem of Red Cross personnel and other civilians. G-1 recommended—and Marshall approved—discontinuance of awards to Red Cross personnel and liberalization of standards for awards to non-Red Cross civilians. (Captain Lawrence A. Minnich, Jr., brief for the chief of staff, August 27, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, SGS, Memorandums and Briefs to the Chief of Staff].)
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 279-280.