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To James G. Rogers
September 24, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Dr. Rogers:
I have just read your reports on the schools at Benning and Knox.1 They are intensely interesting and informative. I am very glad that someone with your knowledge and perspective has gone over these two institutions and given us the benefit of his reactions. I want to talk to you about your trip but whether I can manage this before you go to Leavenworth and Riley or afterwards I cannot tell at this moment.
In your memorandum for Colonel West2 you state that you are “developing some overall ideas which might mature after seeing more schools”, also that you are “anxious not to be a nuisance”. There is no question of the latter and I am equally anxious that you do see more schools.
I can talk over with you personally some of my reactions to your comments, but one I will mention now. It has been very difficult to be reasonably certain that we were getting the best type of men for development into leaders, leaders suited to the harsh, stern business of this present war with the Germans and the Japanese. There has not been much time for their instruction as officers, and I have therefore accepted it as desirable that the course should be severe and “stern” to use your expression. If there are weaklings, men who break down under pressure, we want to find it out before they are commissioned. Perhaps this in a measure interferes with the absorption of instructional matter. What I was concerned to note was your reference to the dishonesty development.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Rogers had moved to Washington in early July 1942 to become a special assistant to William J. Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services. He had written to Marshall, whom he had met the previous year (see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-615 [2: 692]), to volunteer his organization’s assistance in evaluating the army’s officer training schools. As Marshall was concerned with this issue (see Marshall to Bull, September 8, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-320 [3: 349-50]), and as he regarded Rogers as “an unusually able man,” he had Rogers sent to investigate and report on the various institutions. (Marshall Memorandum for General McNair, August 10, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Rogers made his trip during the second week in September. The editors have not found his reports on the Infantry School (Fort Benning) or the Armored Force School (Fort Knox), but he commented in his diary: “The Benning school is almost perfect. It graduates 250 2nd lieutenants every day after the best officers’ training of 13 weeks I ever saw. It is 90% in the field. The Armored Schools are too West Pointy—severe, silly close order drill an hour a day, no field work, all snap and dash. . . It was a week of gun-fire, night demonstrations, tanks, cannon, machine guns to no end.” (Wartime Washington: The Secret OSS Journal of James Grafton Rogers, 1942-1943, ed. Thomas F. Troy [Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1987], p. 12.)
2. Lieutenant Colonel Harley B. West was a member of the Training Branch of the Organization and Training Division (G-3).
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. 364-365.