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To Major General Frederic H. Smith1
October 25, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
This is a wholly informal letter, to which no reply is to be made. I merely want to make certain that your attention has or will be called to the situation at Virginia Beach.
I understand that this is a small community, particularly in the winter period, with limited resources; that there are three regiments in the vicinity of the town, two National Guard and one Regular; that there is no common commander for the three because of their varied missions; and that the local community are not straining themselves to cooperate in providing some resources in the town to meet the heavy impact of men who show up there in the evenings. What particularly concerns me in such a situation is the fact that the Regular organization will undoubtedly shift for itself very promptly and that with no centralized direction the National Guard regiments will either be competing or complaining, or both.2
With every move we make being checked and double-checked by the press and by interested mothers and fathers, I want to make as much of a good impression as possible at the start rather than to be involved in a defensive situation in which we follow the old routine of stating the matter is going to be attended to or is under study. I am not even certain that you have anything directly to do with this. If you do not, please pass it on to the proper person.
P.S. I am enclosing a memorandum from the Morale Section of The Adjutant General’s Department to an Assistant Adjutant General.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Smith (U.S.M.A., 1903) was commandant of the army’s Coast Artillery School at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and commanding general of the Third Coast Artillery District, which included Virginia Beach, Virginia.
2. The three Coast Artillery regiments near Virginia Beach were the Regular Army’s 71st (antiaircraft), the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 213th (antiaircraft), and the New York National Guard’s 244th (155-mm gun).
3. The editors have been unable to identify this document.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 340.