1-471 To Major General James K. Parsons, January 31, 1938

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 31, 1938

To Major General James K. Parsons1

January 31, 1938 Vancouver Barracks, Washington

My dear General:

I have had no occasion to write you for some time, but you may be interested in what has happened to the post, in the way of improvements, since your departure.

Last July we completed the new garages for the western half of the officers’ quarters. All the old buildings to be demolished were gotten rid of by the end of May. The painting went ahead according to program and greatly improved the appearance of things, especially along the line of barracks. The heating plants and the electric wiring have been put in good shape. I got furnaces for those old buildings we were using for barracks, and their installation has just been completed.

Last September I shifted things in administrative set-up. The Regimental Commander is the Post Executive and is authorized to do practically all the various things that are covered for the Post Commander by regulations. He has his office where yours was, and his regimental staff includes the post administrative work along with the regimental.

I now have Hossfeld’s old office as Brigade and CCC headquarters.2 With the exception of Garrett and his immediate assistants,3 all of the CCC people are in this building, and the space they formerly occupied has been turned over to the post and regiment.

I was cut from sixteen to five thousand in Barracks and Quarters money, but I got $37,000.00 WPA money from the State. Unfortunately the State held out practically all the money that might be spent for materials. However, I recently got $60,000.00 from the War Department allotment, which gives me a fair percentage for material. And I have just been notified that a further allotment of $61,000.00 is coming through, on the same basis.

The North Woods is being cleared and parked, and made much more available for training. The former radio station is now a double NCO set. We are about to level the floor in the Victory Theater, and insert two trusses, which will give us a fine basket-ball floor, with ample room for an audience, and a fine roller skating rink.

We succeeded in getting a Hammond electric organ for the Chapel, and this can be used in the Victory Theater for roller skating.

Our bowling crowd has so increased that we are putting in two new alleys, and the amateur boxing fills the theater.

Glass is a very good colonel, and Mrs. Glass is delightful.4 We have an unusually fine crowd of officers here now, and the social life of the garrison is extremely active and very agreeable. The Club runs to capacity, and has something scheduled almost for every day. We are now enlarging and re-arranging the kitchen and the bar to better accommodate people. We picked up two gas ranges for the Service Club so that we can serve dinner dance crowds there.

For the CCC end I am sending you a copy of our bi-weekly paper which will give you an idea of what has been going on.5 The camps in eastern Oregon were transferred to the Boise district. I swapped Yakima for Canby and Cathlamet. The larger districts have been cut to provide sufficient camps for the smaller ones to enable them to maintain their overhead, under the present limiting budget.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my CCC inspections. Mrs. Marshall usually goes with me and I leave her in the towns while I inspect. We have covered practically every road and most of the trails in Oregon and southern Washington, fished most of the lakes and streams, and put up at most of the hotels, inns or motor camps. Belknap Springs hotel has become a favorite stopping place and several cottages have been placed at our disposal along the Coast where we rest up during our inspection trips. I spent four days two weeks ago in the Hamilton Corbett cottage next door to that nice little hotel in Gearhart.6 Had a delightful house party.

With warm regards to you both,

Faithfully yours,

P.S. You will be interested to know that we have made great strides at Camp Bonneville. Hogan has metamorphosed the reservation.7 In early December the veteran camp at Arboretum was to be disbanded, but when they found they could not place the men elsewhere, they called on me to spend $2500 to rehabilitate an abandoned camp somewhere, for two month’s occupation. I put over the proposition of giving me this company to house in the army cantonment at Bonneville, and I got $500 to put things in shape for winter occupation. Hogan managed the thing beautifully, and since then I have had about $700 more to spend. The buildings have been completely revamped and the camp put in splendid shape against the future.

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Vancouver Barracks, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Parsons, whom Marshall succeeded as commander at Vancouver Barracks, was commanding the Second Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

2. Colonel Henry Hossfeld had commanded the Seventh Infantry at Vancouver Barracks until Colonel Ralph R. Glass (U.S.M.A., 1904) assumed command in October, 1937.

3. Captain Byron O. Garrett, an Ordnance Corps Reserve officer, was the Vancouver Barracks C.C.C. District quartermaster.

4. Colonel Glass came to Vancouver Barracks from Atlanta, Georgia, where he had been G-3 at Fourth Corps Area headquarters. Shortly before Glass’s arrival, Fourth Corps Area Commander Major General George V. H. Moseley wrote: “When Glass left I did not know I would be writing you so soon, so I sent messages by Glass, telling him that if I were elected President of the United States I would make you Chief of Staff on Inauguration Day—that is the best I can do." (Moseley to Marshall, September 9, 1937, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Vancouver Barracks].)

5. With Marshall’s vigorous encouragement, publication of the Vancouver Barracks C.C.C. District Review began on May 15, 1937.

6. Hamilton F. Corbett was president of the Portland Chamber of Commerce.

7. Reserve Infantry officer First Lieutenant Adellon H. Hogan.

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. 578-580.

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