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To Major General John W. O’Daniel1
November 13, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I have your letter of the twenty-fourth inviting me to contribute a foreword to the “History of the Third Infantry Division”, on which your people have just commenced work.
My first reaction was that it would not be advisable for me to undertake this because of the possibility of similar requests from a number of divisions, all of which I could not hope to meet—for of necessity I must be quite careful in what I say and I have very little time. However, in view of my past intimate association with the Division, and particularly with the Infantry regiments in the Division, I will prepare a foreword and send it to you as soon as practicable.2
I have been following your operations in the difficult terrain and trying weather that you are now experiencing. I hope that you can clear your skirts of the mountains in the near future and enjoy some good German billets.3
It was most interesting to me to see you the other day on my brief tour of the front.4
With warm regards,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. O’Daniel, who had entered the Regular Army from the Delaware National Guard during World War I, had attended the Infantry School in 1928, while Marshall was assistant commandant. He had commanded the Third Infantry Division since February 1944.
2. During World War II, the Third Infantry Division included the Seventh, Fifteenth, and Thirtieth Infantry regiments. The first paragraph of the foreword stated: “I have a very special interest in the history of the 3rd Division. My first assignment in the Army was with the 30th Infantry, later I commanded the 15th Infantry in China, and my last command in the field was the 5th Infantry Brigade, then a part of the Division.” (Foreword enclosed in Pasco to O’Daniel, November 23, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
3. The division had been involved in assault landings in North Africa (November 8, 1942), Sicily (July 10, 1943), Anzio (January 22, 1944), and southern France (August 15, 1944). At this time it was with the Sixth Corps in the Vosges Mountains preparing to launch an attack over the Meurthe River toward Strasbourg.
4. Marshall had visited the Third Division on October 9. See editorial note #4-542, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 624-25], regarding his visit to the western front.
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. 658-659.