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Editorial Note on Being General Bell’s Aide
While Marshall was contemplating his army career, he was also engaged in planning for, and then participating in, a ride by General Liggett’s staff up the central valley of Luzon to the Lingayan Gulf and back—January 14-29, 1916—to study the potential for defense in the event of a Japanese attack from that direction. That, and the possibility of military involvement with Mexico, seemed more likely at the time than American participation in the European war. (Marshall to Captain William T. Sexton, January 23, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General]; Marshall Interviews, p. 177.)
In mid-May, 1916, a few weeks after General Liggett had been appointed Philippine Department commander, Marshall’s foreign tour was completed, and he was ordered back to the United States. After spending a month’s leave in Japan, the Marshalls sailed on the U.S.A.T. Thomas for San Francisco, arriving there on July 13. Marshall had orders to report to the Sixteenth Infantry, then part of Brigadier General John J. Pershing’s punitive expedition, at Colonia Dublan, Mexico.
General Bell—since August, 1915, commander of the Western Department, with headquarters at the Presidio, San Francisco—“had lost almost all of his officers to this duty on the Mexican border,” Marshall remembered, “and he only had retired officers helping him out and he was organizing three training camps. So he held me by the means of getting me detailed as an aide.” (Marshall Interviews, p. 178.)
Marshall’s first assignment was to assist Brigadier General William L. Sibert (U.S.M.A., 1884) with his civilian training camp for business and professional men at Monterey, California. Successful there, he was sent to another camp—August 21 to September 16—at Fort Douglas, near Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to drilling and inspecting the volunteers, Marshall gave illustrated lectures. A local newspaper reported part of one such presentation.
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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 96-97.