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To Colonel Ralph D. Mershon
December 22, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington
My dear Colonel Mershon:
My Christmas greeting to you and my wish for your health and prosperity for the New Year.
Recently I had a letter from General Gignilliat, telling me of General Pershing’s reception in Washington of the CMTC boys. Colonel Bishop is sending me some of the photographs. I am delighted to learn that the committee is making progress, and particularly that the office in Washington has been an increasingly helpful center, both for the War Department and for the interested civilian authorities. In all probability the fact that you have maintained that office has done more to protect and promote cause of civilian-military education than anything else could have done. Prior to that set-up there was no particular head to the business—none whatever on the outside and no chief of branch in the War Department. Since what is everybody’s business tends to become nobody’s business, the cause of civilian-military education always suffered accordingly. Now it is given what I believe is skillful and unobtrusive leadership, towards which all college authorities are steadily turning for both assistance and guidance.
The more I watched this work, the more I puzzled my brain to find a proper and enduring activity to promote this cause, the more I am impressed with the fact that leadership is the important thing. I believe that in due time it will be taken over in a large way by something like the Navy League; but at the present the time is not right and the business progresses very much better under your unselfish patronage.
I hope you are in good health, and that some day I may have the opportunity to talk things over with you. I was very sorry to leave the committee but it seemed that with my transfer to the Northwest affairs would go better, with a man in the East like Colonel Lowe to give active attention to the business, in frequent contact with other members of the committee.1
With regard and esteem, believe me,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Vancouver Barracks, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Lieutenant Colonel Frank E. Lowe succeeded Marshall as a member of the Civilian Military Education Fund Board.
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), pp. 573-574.