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To Major General Charles C. Haffner, Jr.
February 27, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
Your letter of February twentieth was forwarded to me out of Washington and before answering it I sent word to the War Department to extend your leave if you so desired.1
Now that I am back I shall take matters up with you direct. I am not clear as to your desires. I of course understand your desire to serve wherever your services are needed; also your desire for combat service again. However, just what your real desire is at the present time I do not know.
In the first place, I do not think you should be sent back to combat duty. Your ailment is too apt to recur and it is not good business to send men back to troop command in heavy going where there is a probability of rather limited service. Next, we are very desirous of utilizing high ranking commanders with extensive battle experience in the training of replacements in this country. You would probably be given some such assignment if you remain on active duty. But, in view of the rather sizeable number of division commanders whose health or injuries have forced their relief from combat command you need feel no qualms about not accepting such an assignment.
So, please let me know just what you wish and then I can decide what is best to do.
I envy you the warm sunshine of Arizona. I should like about two months of that myself. I was sorry not to see Mrs. Haffner and you when you were in Washington. Mrs. Marshall appreciated very much the lovely flowers the two of you sent her when she was at Pinehurst.
With warm regards,2
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. On Thursday, February 22, General Marshall departed for North Carolina and returned to Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, February 26. Haffner, who commanded the Illinois National Guard’s 124th Field Artillery Regiment during Marshall’s service in Chicago in the mid-1930s, wrote from Phoenix, Arizona, where he was recuperating from dysentery, which he had contracted in December while commanding the 103d Division in the E.T.O. Having relinquished command of his division when he returned to the United States to recuperate, he was considering retirement since there were plenty of Regular officers available. “My only desire has been to do something to help in this time of crisis and if you feel I should go on the inactive list do not hesitate to place me on it,” wrote Haffner. “I would not want a place made for me. If however I can serve you or the war effort I would of course be happy to do so. My own desire of course would be to get my division back but know that is impossible.” (Haffner to Marshall, February 20, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Haffner replied on March 2 that he preferred to remain in the service at least until the collapse of the German armies, “since I have spent almost every minute of my spare time preparing for this emergency for twenty-five years and since I feel I can still make a real contribution to the war effort in any assignment.” General Haffner took command of the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Rucker, Alabama, until he retired in August 1945. (Haffner to Marshall, March 2, May 9, and September 29, 1945, ibid.)
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. 57-58.