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To Second Lieutenant Allen T. Brown
March 11, 1944 Washington, D.C.
Dear Allen –
A report of deployments the other day created in my mind some doubt as to just where you were.1 I left Saturday morning on a quick trip, first to an air base on the Gulf of Mexico to witness special types of bombing. The same evening I flew on to Mississippi and inspected an Army Corps there the following morning. That afternoon I flew on to the Louisiana Maneuver district and visited four divisions, going on that night to San Antonio. The next morning I did three Air schools or fields and one Air depot of 40 odd thousand employees, and that afternoon I flew north in Texas to a Tank Destroyer camp and went on to Sill that night. The next day I witnessed firing at Sill and flew on to Kentucky in the late afternoon; the following morning with the temperature 15 above zero and a driving snow, I went through two Armored divisions in the field and saw a great deal of firing. I flew on to Washington in the evening.2
Last night your mother and I had dinner with the Halifaxes, very informal, only six of us, and quite pleasant.3 Today, Saturday, I am very busy and will be all day Sunday. We had hoped to go down to Leesburg this afternoon or Sunday afternoon to plant some fruit trees and do some other garden chores, but I doubt if we make it. The weather here is pleasant now, but it was cold and messy.
I have had a number of interruptions while dictating this letter, so it is difficult to give it any continuity. I am afraid that the small type we are using will photograph down to such a small size that you may have some difficulty in reading it. I will see if we can’t use a larger type in the future. I noted your comment in a letter to your mother that you had not heard from me for three months. For a time I wrote you practically every day, and then I went travelling. Since I came home I have written about once a week or maybe for a time every ten days. Have been very, very busy, but am sorry that I don’t do better. My intentions are of the best. I am going to the Alibi Club tonight for the annual business dinner. You probably don’t remember what it is, a small group of about 30 men, in a rather unique and attractive setting, with famous oyster dinners. I wish you could join us and spread yourself in the warmth of a heated room and with the bountiful food that I assume will be at hand. You could do much better by it than I shall be able to, and with better results, too. You enjoy one great advantage over me. You are young. I had rather be young and in the mud than at my age and in an office chair, though it seems to me I spend a great deal of time in the air not to mention slogging over considerable muddy terrain. All good luck to you and may the good Lord watch over you.
Document Copy Text Source: Research File, Family Folder, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. “I am still at the front, and have been here a total of eleven days,” Second Lieutenant Brown wrote on March 7, “I will stay in the frontline now for quite some time. It is a little nerve-wracking at times, but I would much rather be here doing something than sitting back in a rear area just waiting.” On March 11 he wrote to his wife, from an area at the foot of Monte Cassino, that he was still with the New Zealand unit at the front. (Allen Brown to Margaret S. Brown, March 7 and 11, 1944, GCMRL/Research File [Family].)
2. See note 1, Marshall to Brown, March 3, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-278 [4: 329].
3. General and Mrs. Marshall had dinner with Lord and Lady Halifax at the British Embassy on the evening of March 10. Lord Halifax had been the British ambassador in Washington since 1941.
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. 335-336.