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To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 14, 1945 Radio No. F-26834. Rome(?), Italy
Top Secret, Eyes Only
The 92nd Division, holding 22 miles on the left of the Fifth Army front in ITALY, has been given a final tryout in a 3 day local offensive, heavily supported by air, plentiful ammunition and tanks. It met little opposition in most parts of the front but the Infantry literally dissolved each night abandoning equipment and even clothing in some cases. The Artillery appears excellent, also the Engineers, and other divisional troops. The command and staff are superior. But as matters now stand, the division is not only of little value but weakens the front by necessitating the putting of other divisions in rear to provide the necessary security against a local German thrust through to LEGHORN and supply lines, divisions that should be otherwise disposed in the center of the Army.1
We cannot afford this wastage of effort and jeopardy of the front, therefore, I am proposing the reorganization of one negro Infantry regiment from the pick of the three; the assignment to the division of a converted anti-aircraft regiment here with additional selected personnel. A third Infantry regiment of dependable quality is urgently required. Could you possibly spare the Japanese regiment to be transferred without equipment, utilizing transportation otherwise returning from MARSEILLES empty after movement of Canadians. This would give us a useful divisional weapon capable of strong thrusts. Address reply to reach my EYES ONLY in WASHINGTON Friday night.2
Document Copy Text Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers, Pre-Presidential 1916-52, Principle File, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. On February 8 the Ninety-second Division crossed the Cinquale Canal and turned inland. On February 11 the division broke off limited attacks in the coastal sector, by withdrawing its bridgehead across the Cinquale Canal, and in the Serchio Valley. (Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1966], pp. 568-72.)
2. General Eisenhower replied that the Japanese-American 442d Infantry Regiment would be transferred on March 22 from France back to Italy. (Eisenhower to Marshall, February 15, 1945, DDEL/D. D. Eisenhower Papers [Pre-Presidential 1916-52, Principal File]; Papers of DDE, 4: 2496-97.) General Marshall had met with the Ninety-second Division’s commander Major General Edward M. Almond and visited the division on February 14. (For General Marshall’s visit with the Ninety-second Division during training exercises at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in May 1944, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, 4: 226 [photo #22]. For information regarding African-American troops in the Pacific, see ibid., #4-301, #4-302, and #4-472 [4: 354-56, 543-44].)
By the first of April, the 370th Infantry Regiment was reorganized from selected personnel from the 365th, 370th, and 371st Infantry Regiments, and the 442d Infantry Regiment (Nisei) and 473d Infantry Regiment (activated from antiaircraft units of Task Force 45) were attached to the Ninety-second Division. (Lee, Employment of Negro Troops, pp. 572-75. For a detailed account of the African-American Ninety-second Infantry Division’s service in Italy, see Hondon B. Hargrove, Buffalo Soldiers in Italy: Black Americans in World War II [Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 1985], especially pp. 82-148.)
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. 49-50.