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To Major Matthew B. Ridgway
August 24, 1936 [Chicago, Illinois]
My dear Ridgway:
Sorry not to have seen you before you left Allegan for Washington.1 I intended to write you a note from Custer but continuous series of callers prevented any attention to personal business. I wanted to thank you for the very vital services you rendered to me during the maneuvers in digging me out of a hole two or three times. It made things quite simple to know I, myself, could turn or send one of my staff to you if we got too hard pressed in some other direction. It is not particularly agreeable to have to make appeals and establish a reputation for not being able to “take it;” but in that affair up there I found “they” didn’t have the least idea of the task they were imposing on us and the restrictions that were imposed on its execution. However, we got by, and other than that minor irritation the whole thing was a delightful enterprise. I have never enjoyed myself more in a training venture. As proof of that, even the umpires could not irritate me.
You personally are to be congratulated for the major success of all the tactical phases of the enterprise, and certainly Hayes has commendations coming for handling of a vast number of complications connected with setting up Supply and similar arrangements.2 You two officers did such a perfect job that there should be some way of rewarding you other than saying it was well done.
I am concerned as to whether you have succeeded in relaxing. I know you have enough brains to perform your military duties in a superior fashion but I doubt very much whether you have enough sense to take care of the human machine— very few men have, and unfortunately when you burn out a fuse you cannot substitute another twenty minutes later. Seriously, you must cultivate the art of playing and loafing; there is no need for you to demonstrate any further you are an energetic, able workman. So I hope you will utilize the remaining days before the War College opens and the first week or two of the War College course to establish the reputation of being something of a dilettante.
With affectionate regards to Peggy, Virginia and yourself,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Ridgway was stationed in Chicago as assistant chief of staff, G-3, of the Second Army and Sixth Corps Area until August 20, 1936. Following the Second Army maneuvers, he attended the Army War College and graduated in 1937.
2. Major George P. Hays was Sixth Corps Area assistant chief of staff, G4.
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), p. 505.