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To Walter H. Martin
January 8, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mr. Martin:
Your letter of December 30, 1941 requesting information relative to your son, Private Lester L. Martin, who is stationed in Honolulu, T. H., has been received. I have had the casualty list carefully checked and his name does not appear on it. Therefore, I believe you can feel certain that he is safe.
The person named as the emergency addressee by a soldier is notified in every case of casualty immediately upon receipt of such report in the War Department.1
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Secretary, General Staff Reading File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Marshall was particularly concerned that casualty notices be handled properly. Prior to sending this form letter produced by the adjutant general’s office, he made a number of textual changes. Marshall later observed: “During the early part of the war, when we had so many losses and no victories or successes, I made it my business to write a personal letter to the parents or wives of many of our casualties. . . . I continued this until the numbers grew beyond me. . . . The replies I received were wonderful in the spirit in which they were written.” (George C. Marshall Interviews and Reminiscences for Forrest C. Pogue, ed. Larry I. Bland, 3d ed. [Lexington, Va.: George C. Marshall Foundation, 1996], p. 529) In June 1942 the chief of staff ordered prepared a series of basic types of letters of condolence that he could send to the nearest relatives of men killed in action. (See Lieutenant Colonel William T. Sexton’s memorandums for the Public Relations bureaus of the army and the air forces, June 12, 1942, GCMRL/W. T. Sexton Papers.)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 49-50.