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To Major General Frank R. McCoy
May 16, 1937 Fort Lewis, Washington
I forwarded your very welcome letter to Katherine while I thought things over. This afternoon I received word from her that if I did not accept your fine and complimentary offer I was something of a fool. Meanwhile I had come to the same conclusion myself, not to mention considerations of ingratitude and lack of appreciation.1
I will be delighted if you can arrange to have me designated to command the First Division.
Frankly, I should think there would be difficulty in having this arranged, due to my lack of rank. If there are three brigade commanders for the division, it seems to me it will be difficult for you to find three available who are my juniors. As a brigade proposition my present command is delightful—as to post, personnel, and especially as to the activities concerning the CCC which cover all of Oregon and southern Washington.
Naturally the opportunity to command my old division appeals very strongly to me; a special honor and a great satisfaction. Then also, there is nobody in the army with whom I would prefer to serve so much as I would with you personally. The mere prospect of a renewal of such association is delightful. I felt very sad over your departure from Chicago as it appeared to be the end of our military contacts. Your present proposal therefore is all the more appealing to me.
I have been here at Lewis since April 24th for 3d Division maneuvers. Started out this morning—Sunday—at two o’clock on a maneuver which terminated at noon. Hardly a restful Sunday. The past two weeks have been particularly strenuous, and tomorrow the Corps Area inspection gets underway. We will be out three nights this week, which means more here than in other regions with which I am familiar, as the rains are almost daily affairs and it has been quite cold-at night with strong winds to cut the chill through your clothes.
I have enjoyed the maneuvers and the outdoor life tremendously. Brought my new horse up here—one sent me from Riley—and have had fine rides, with splendid views of Mt Ranier which towers over the reservation.
I came up here by way of the Columbia river gorge and Yakima, where I had a dinner engagement. Katherine came along and spent one night here, returning to Vancouver in care of my young CCC driver. She drove up again for a week end, Molly coming up with some young people for a dance.
Physically I feel fine, except that I have gained too many pounds, which Katherine thinks becoming, but which I deplore around the belt line. My operation seems to have been a grand success. I suffered none of the usual reactions and registered normal in heart action—which had been the only symptom of any trouble—by the ninth day. Apparently pressure had caused the trouble rather than toxic poisoning which shoots up the nervous system. Strange to say I never felt better than when I went into the hospital, and I feel just as well now, and more impatient to get into everything with full energy. However, I am being very gradual about getting back to normal physical activities. They tell me not to work up to normal before the first of June. So long as I can ride horseback every day this precaution imposes no hardship.
Katherine has been a great success in Portland. Formerly the post had few contacts with the city, but already she seems to be the most sought after women about town. All the old conservatives are after here constantly, by telephone, motor and otherwise, to do this and that with them. I have been away so much that I am not very well known about town. I am merely Mrs. Marshall’s husband—and much honored and pleased to be so considered. They have good taste.
Give my love to Francis, and believe me most appreciative and hopeful.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: Frank R. McCoy Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Author-typed letter signed.
1. McCoy asked Marshall if he was interested in commanding the First Division after its commander, Brigadier General Perry L. Miles (U.S.M.A., 1895), retired in October. (McCoy to Marshall, May 6, 1937, LC/F. R. McCoy Papers.) Marshall did not receive the appointment. See Marshall to McCoy, July 4, 1937, (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-453 [1: 550-51]).
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. 536-537.