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To Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson, Jr.
January 19, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I received the 7th Division booklet with your card, which I was much interested in reading, and thank you for sending. I also received your letter transmitting the copy of your confidential statement to Admiral Nimitz regarding Marine Corps matters.1
Admiral King has not spoken to me in the matter so I don’t know exactly what the result will be. However, you have made the issue very clear and I am quite certain it will be most helpful.
I have been away for ten days and just returned. I find that during my absence some progress has been made in the matter of supplying you with Italian prisoners.2 I hope this goes through without undue delay.
I radioed Nimitz requesting that he have a survey made of the rear areas, particularly in the South Pacific, to see if we could not greatly conserve in Army strength and mentioned your needs in Hawaii and our difficulties in supplying them from the States.3 I saw a message from him to Halsey’s command in the South Pacific directing that an officer familiar with the situation report at Nimitz’ headquarters in Hawaii, so I presume some action will be taken.
We have under consideration now the assignment of Major General Troy Middleton who commanded the 45th Division in Sicily and at Salerno and also north of Naples. He injured his knee to such an extent that it limited his capacity for inspections in that mountainous country. Therefore he was relieved from command of the division. This was most unfortunate as his performance had been brilliant. McNair wants him as a Corps commander in this country and we are considering him as the Corps commander you asked for in Hawaii. We shall decide the question after he reaches Washington.4
Again with my thanks for your bountiful and beautifully ordered hospitality,
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. Richardson, commanding general of army forces in the Central Pacific Area, had sent photographs to Marshall which were taken during his visit to the Seventh Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Richardson to Marshall, December 24, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) At Admiral Nimitz’s request, Richardson had written a memorandum to Nimitz regarding the Fifth Amphibious Corps. Richardson observed that “through no fault of its own, the United States Marine Corps has a very limited number of officers who have been trained for the duties of a corps staff. . . . I feel that as a tactical headquarters the Fifth Amphibious Corps is an unnecessary echelon of command and that it has no means, combat or service, to further the successful capture, defense, or development of bases in the Central Pacific Area.” He therefore recommended that the Fifth Amphibious Corps exercise only administrative functions in connection with Marine Corps troops. “When the time arrives for the employment of a tactical corps as such in the Central Pacific Area, both the corps headquarters and the corps troops, combat and service, be furnished by the Army.” (Richardson Memorandum to Nimitz, December 27, 1943, enclosed in Richardson to Marshall, December 29, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 323.3 Amphibious Forces].)
2. On December 30, 1943, Marshall notified Richardson that the War Department was considering moving Italian prisoners of war to Hawaii for use on labor projects. Richardson responded on January 2 that he could employ four thousand such men in handling supplies, laundries, road work, and general engineer labor. He would, however, require additional military police escort guard companies. (Marshall to Richardson, December 30, 1943, Out Log, p. 88, and Richardson to Marshall, January 2, 1944, In Log, p. 16, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, Message Log].)
3. Richardson had requested an increase in personnel for his headquarters. Marshall had notified Admiral Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas and Richardson’s superior, that “physical availability of personnel has become a critical problem to the extent that most of our combat divisions are under strength. . . . A superficial examination indicates that there are troops in rear areas in the Pacific considerably in excess of requirements.” Nimitz was asked to survey what reallocation of army personnel and units might meet Richardson’s needs. (Marshall to Nimitz, January 11, 1944, Out Log, p. 29, ibid.)
4. Middleton returned to the United States from the North African theater in late January 1944. In mid-February he entered Walter Reed General Hospital for observation and treatment of his arthritic knee, and the disposition board recommended that he be returned to duty status. Middleton was assigned to the European theater in March 1944. (GCMRL/Research File [Middleton]; Marshall to Eisenhower, March 3, 1944, Out Log, p. 13, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Message Log].) See Marshall to Eisenhower, February 25, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-269 [4: 317-18].
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 241-243.