1-337 To Major General Edward Croft, November 28, 1933

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 28, 1933

To Major General Edward Croft1

November 28, 1933 [Chicago, Illinois]

My dear General:

I have been intending for sometime to express to you my regret that my services with a regiment were so suddenly terminated, but getting settled in a new job and in an apartment has delayed me. I have never been so reluctant to leave a job in the Army as I was to give up command at Moultrie, along with the South Carolina CCC. It was all intensely interesting, and I found it a delightful experience in every respect.

In your note to me last spring you expressed some curiosity about the conclusions I had drawn regarding training conditions and methods at a small post. I did come to several definite conclusions, and I was able at each of two posts to increase the turnout considerably and engage in very interesting work. I found several factors influenced the matter. In the first place, it seemed to me that my main function was to protect the troops against my staff; to organize fatigue on the basis of working parties for definite tasks assigned to companies; to require the services (Q.M. in particular) to foresee jobs well in advance and for my headquarters to assign those jobs as jobs to company commanders, the men, methods, tools and other means being the problem of that officer; to permit no fatigue work in the mornings except as emergency propositions with my express approval; to arrange special duty details myself (almost) day to day, to fit in with training work; to get big turnouts in the late afternoon for evening and all night exercises, every one being back in the post by 8:00 A.M., etc. etc.

I found the routine training programs too ponderous and elaborate for the constantly changing requirements of garrison life. Instead, we decided the rough priorities for what we wanted to do and I personally adjusted and readjusted post requirements and training hours to secure the largest turnout with the least disturbance of post affairs. I found my daily task lay in coordinating these factors to meet the desired end, and it appeared that detailed programs prepared in advance usually defeated themselves because of the constant development of unexpected demands. I insisted on men being given furloughs throughout part of the summer reserve training, and even during target practice, then I allowed no furloughs November 1 to December 20 and February 1 to March 30th. In this way all the men were present for bayonet, grenade, anti-aircraft and rifle company machine gun practice, as well as for tactical exercises. Rifle companies were always combined for close order drill and first sergeants were the close order drill masters. The officers I kept busy at other tasks, plus their company administration. All in all we had very little on paper, but we knew where we were going and seized every opportunity for a good attendance enroute. I did not intend to go into such details to such boring length, but I was deeply interested in the results.

My senior assistant here is Lieutenant Colonel Joseph C. Hatie, Infantry. He is unusually efficient and seems to have a positive flare for divisional staff work and harmonizing conflicting people and interests. He is in for the War College, and I can testify that he is very much the desired type.2

With warm regards,

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Croft—who became chief of Infantry on May 6, 1933—had drafted the list of “outstanding and suitable” men for the Chicago assignment from which the army chief of staff selected Marshall. (Croft to Marshall, December 2, 1933, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Illinois National Guard].)

2. Hatie was not detailed to the War College.

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 408-409.

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