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To Lieutenant General Albert J. Bowley
November 9, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
There has been mailed to you as Army Commander a copy of a memorandum I sent to the Chief of Naval Operations, regarding the proposed landing operation by the Third Division in January. A copy has also been furnished General DeWitt.1 I think the memorandum is self explanatory so far as the rough outline of the joint operation is concerned; but nothing in it referred to future plans for the Third Division.
We have in mind that on the completion of the landing operation the Division should go into camp either at Ord or San Luis Obispo for combined maneuvers to include such other troops as are available in the Corps Area. Then, after the rains have ceased in the Northwest, the Division would be returned to Fort Lewis,—whether by boat, road, or rail I do not know.
As for the Joint Army and Navy operation, we were hopeful of arranging a date in early January. This is very important from the viewpoint of the Wing of the GHQ Air Force on the West Coast, as they will be on the verge of what will almost amount to an emasculation in the expansion and special training involved in carrying out the tremendous augmentation for the Air Corps. The Navy people told me yesterday that Admiral Bloch2 had found a spot in his previously arranged schedule, I think in the first week in February. I expressed deep concern over this delay because of the embarrassment it would cause our Air Corps, but refrained from mentioning the fact that the delay in the departure of the Third Division from Fort Lewis merely prolonged their period of waiting in the inclement weather of the Northwest winter. I was then informed that by considerable rearrangement Admiral Bloch might be able to have his people participate about January 22d, which would be a better date for our Air Corps than the one in February.
I am giving you this information as a background for your discussions with Admiral Bloch or his representatives. Please have in mind that this affair is our proposal, and involves a considerable disarrangement of the carefully blocked out plans for the United States Fleet. It would not have been possible to arrange, as a matter of fact we could not have had it even given consideration, except for the fact that Admiral Stark is very anxious to cooperate with the Army in every way possible, and he, therefore, directed that this be managed in some way or other.
I would appreciate your having someone on your staff keep General De Witt advised as to the progress of the discussions or plans, as he naturally will be deeply interested.
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. Bowley was due to retire November 30, and Major General John L. De Witt was scheduled to succeed him as commander of the Fourth Army and the Ninth corps Area.
2. Admiral Claude C. Bloch (U.S.N.A., 1899) was commander in chief of the United States Fleet.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 101-102.