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To Lieutenant Colonel Edwin F. Harding1
October 31, 1934 [Chicago, Illinois]
My congratulations on your promotion which I see has been in effect for some weeks. I suppose Eleanor is pleased to be “Colonel’s lady,” even if this promotion does not promote her from the kitchen to the living room.
I had a long letter from Lanham the other day, inspired by a copy he had received of a complimentary letter I wrote Colonel Weeks on Volume VIII of the Mailing List. Lanham seems terribly depressed in his Leavenworth station and very restless over lack of opportunity—and, I suppose, the fact that he is an unknown in that concentration of brain power. I tried to counsel a little patience, and warned him against the pessimistic attitude, because one can never tell when the real opportunity is going to develop. I think I will write General Heintzelman about it to see if I cannot get him attached to the faculty, at least on a part time basis.
Whenever I am conniving to get these young fellows with genuine ability put in a suitable setting, I deplore the fact I have not gained a position of sufficient power to do what I think should be done. I am awfully tired of seeing mediocrity placed in key positions, with brilliancy and talent damned by lack of rank to obscurity. There are so many junior officers of tremendous ability whose qualities the service is losing all advantage of that it is really tragic.
With my love to Eleanor and you, and the youngest lady,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Harding (U.S.M.A., 1909) had been acting commander of the Fifteenth Infantry at Tientsin, China, when Marshall arrived in September, 1924. He and his wife, Eleanor, sailed for the United States with the Marshalls in May, 1927. Harding was a student at the Infantry School when Marshall arrived in the autumn of 1927. Following a year as a student at Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff School (1928-29), Harding returned to the Infantry School as an instructor and the chief of the Fourth Section—which taught military history, among other things—between September, 1929, and June, 1933. After spending the 1933-34 academic year at the Army War College, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Infantry and made the editor of the Infantry Journal.
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. 440-441.