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To Lieutenant General Hugh A. Drum
May 12, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Replying to your note of May ninth,1 Lear’s appointment as Lieutenant General, Army of the United States, was made because of his approaching retirement and a request for his services by General Craig who heads the War Department Personnel Board. The nomination was also timed in connection with Lear’s appointment to temporary command of the Army Ground Forces.2
The similar appointment for De Witt was made because he is to be relieved from command of the Fourth Army as soon as he returns from Adak in the Aleutians (where he is now in process of supervising a new operation) to head a joint Army-Navy War College for the training of selected officers in the technique and logistics of operations involving air, ground and naval forces. De Witt has not been advised of this new assignment so this information is to be treated as confidential for the time being.3
As to your own case, the issue had not arisen. Just what your assignment will be after retirement has not been finally determined. Initially it will probably be to the United States-Canadian Defense Board though it is too early for a definite decision in view of the rapid changes in progress.4
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. Drum, commanding general of the Eastern Defense Command and First Army with headquarters at Governors Island, New York, wrote that the newspapers had published accounts of Ben Lear and John L. De Witt’s appointments as lieutenant general “in their own right, i.e., independent of their army command assignments. As Lear retires this month and De Witt in January, it appears strange that my name was not included in these announcements as my retirement comes in September.” Drum found it difficult to understand why he had been omitted from the War Department’s public announcement of future plans. He reminded Marshall that the chief of staff had commended his work on several occasions since his appointment as lieutenant general and army commander. (Drum to Marshall, May 9, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. See note 3, Marshall to De Witt, March 17, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-555 [3: 590-92].
3. In September 1943 Lieutenant General John L. De Witt was assigned to organize the Army and Navy Staff College in Washington, D.C., and to serve as its commandant. For further information regarding De Witt’s assignment, see Marshall Memorandum for General McNarney, May 25, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-668 [3: 703-5].
4. In August 1943 Drum was named chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington, D.C., where he served until September 30, 1943, when he retired with the rank of lieutenant general.
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. 689-690.