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To Private Frank W. Clay
April 7, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Clay:
Since the receipt of your letter, complaining about the lack of attention you have received, your case has been investigated by the Commanding General at Fort Bragg. I am told you believe you are suffering from arthritis, but that the surgeon has been unable to make a definite diagnosis.1 But what is more to the point, I am told that prior to December 31, 1940, your service was satisfactory, but since that date it has not been satisfactory. You married without permission; you were absent without leave on January 6th and again for three days from January 15th; you entered the hospital on January 18, and were absent without leave on January 19th.
There are more than one million young men in the Army today. If conduct such as yours was a frequent occurrence, it would be impossible to build up an efficient army and utterly impossible to administer it. The fact that the Chief of Staff of the Army has taken the time to write to you directly should indicate to you the harm done by unjustifiable complaints such as yours. It is your job now as a citizen and soldier in this great emergency to do your duty without further derelictions.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. The Office of the Chief of Staff received numerous letters from enlisted men during the mobilization period; usually their problems involved matters of discipline, morale, personal equipment, or food. Officers’ problems usually involved promotion, management, or professional deportment. (For example, see Marshall to De Witt, April 2, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-412 [2: 464].)
Marshall’s letter to Major General Jacob L. Devers, commanding general of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was typical of his response to enlisted men’s complaints: “Entirely informally and off the record I am sending you the attached rather pathetic letter. Please do not have this fellow hazed, but have the surgeons see what the trouble is.” (Marshall to Devers, April 2, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 467-468,