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alternate between serving with an organization as a platoon commander or company commander with legal service.
General Shoup. That has been the case almost 100 percent until the last year or two.
We do have some officers now that devote most of their time to the legal business, because we have the legal billet that is always going to be there in the words of the law. Therefore, we know we have to have one.
Senator Ervin. But do you not still have the practice-take, for example, men with the rank of lieutenants who have had legal training or who have been sent to your school there in New England.
You do try to see to it that they get line service as well as the others ? General Shoup. Yes, sir, particularly if the officer himself want it.
Senator ERVIN. You get your chaplains from the Navy, too, do you not?
General SHOUP. Yes, sir, dentists and doctors.
Chairman RUSSELL. If there are no further questions, General Shoup, we appreciate your presentation.
We will now hear from Maj. Gen. William P. T. Hill, who is former quartermaster general of the Marine Corps, now retired, who will testify on the bill.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM P. T. HILL (RETIRED),
FORMER QUARTERMASTER GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS General Hill. Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for inviting me to appear before you this morning. My name is William P. T. Hill, major general, U.S. Marine Corps (retired). It has been 7 years since I appeared before this committee, so if I do not recognize some of you by name, please excuse it. I will try to.
I entered the Marine Corps in 1917. I was a qualified naval aviator. I was an engineer. I was an infantry officer, an artillery officer.
In 1929 I was detailed as an acting assistant quartermaster in the then Quartermaster Department. I served continuously in the Quartermaster Department until it was consolidated with the Paymasters Department, and I was the acting quartermaster general or quartermaster general from December 1, 1943, to February 1, 1955.
Now, I did not have time, sir, to write out a full statement, but I have a few observations that I would like to call to the attention of the committee.
I have no fight with General Shoup. I admire him as a soldier and a man. He has had a hard time to straighten out the Marine Corps when he started, and I served under 8 or 10 Commandants of the Marine Corps, and I would place him at the top of all of those.
But the comments I am offering, I believe, are for the good of the Marine Corps, the good of the country, and the protection of those loyal, dedicated people who gave up the chance to become Commandant of the Marine Corps and went into the supply department.
The supply department, as such, the Quartermaster Department and the Paymaster Department, adjutant inspector was established permanently in 1817.
But to get to the gist of the situation, sir, in 1916, March 1, 1916, the detail system versus the staff departments, August 29, 1916 (Public Law 241, H.R. 15947, approved August 29, 1916), abolished and repealed the act of 1903 and made:
No further permanent appointments in any grade in any staff department of the Marine Corps. Any vacancy hereafter occurring in the lower grade of any staff department shall be filled by the detail of an officer of the line for a period of 4 years unless sooner relieved. Any vacancy hereafter occurring in the upper grade of any staff department shall be filled by the appointment of an officer with the rank of colonel holding a permanent appointment in the staff department in which the vacancy exists, or of some other officer holding a permanent appointment in such staff department; in case there be no permanent staff officer with the rank of colonel in the department; or of a colonel in the line in case there be no one holding a permanent appointment in such staff department, such appointment shall be made by the President for a term of 4 years, and the officer so appointed shall be recommissioned in the grade to which appointed.
This law permitted permanent staff officers to be, upon their own applications, with the approval of the President, be reappointed in the line of the Marine Corps, except colonels and lieutenant colonels. If an officer requested transfer to the line, he was required to serve in line duties for 1 year and then establish to the satisfaction of an examining board consisting of line officers, his physical, mental, and professional fitness for the performance of line duties. [All officers, staff and line, were placed on a common list in order of seniority.]
Now, gentlemen, at that time very few officers requested transfer. The last one of those officers left retired in 1944.
Now, in the interim between 1917 and 1937 there had been a lot of meritorious noncommissioned officers appointed, quartermaster sergeants and so forth, by the permanent board as a result of the act of March 4, 1920. They were usually a major, captain, or first lieutenant. Some of them had 20 or more years of service.
Now, those officers were well qualified for those junior positions in the then Quartermaster Department, the then Paymaster Department.
However, in about 1929 those people were retiring with 30 or 35 or 38 years service, and others had to be designated acting assistant quartermasters without being asked for it. So this brings up the law of 1937:
H.R. 7510, a bill to authorize the assignment of officers of the line of the Marine Corps to staff duty only as assistant quartermasters and assistant paymasters, and for other purposes an act of Congress approved July 28, 1937 (50 Stat. p. 537, U.S.C. supp., title 34, sec. 32)— carried out the provisions of the above bill, H.R. 7510.
All the testimony supporting this bill confirmed the fact that the detail system established by the 1916 act was unsatisfactory and inefficient. The recommendations of Brig. Gen. Hugh Mathews, the then Quartermaster General, Brig. Gen. Harold C. Reisinger, the then Paymaster General, Brig. Ġen. Clayton B. Vogel, representing the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps, that the object was to:
Enable the Marine Corps to develop and maintain an adequate and efficient Staff Corps and looking to the future rather than to the present, to insure that there will be available highly qualified officers with the necessary specialized knowledge, training, and experience to fill important key positions in the Quartermaster and Paymaster Departments.
To accomplish this purpose, it provides that a small number of majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels of the line may elect, with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, to spend the remainder of their careers as quartermasters and paymasters, under the same conditions that line officers of the Navy elect to perform engineering duty only.
It provided titles of “Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps” and "Paymaster General of the Marine Corps."
Before it was just the “Quartermaster” and “Paymaster.”
The Reorganization Act of 1946, Plan No. 3, consolidated the Paymaster and the Quartermaster Department into one unit, the Supply Department. The paymaster was abolished, the title was abolished.
Next we come to H.R. 1371, which added :
Officers of the line of the Marine Corps of the permanent grades of captain upon application, and with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, be assigned to Supply duty only. andProvided, That all Officers of the Marine Corps now assigned to assistant quartermaster duty only, and assistant paymaster duty only are hereby assigned to Supply duty only, without change in their lineal positions and precedence solely as a result of such change or assignment. [Emphasis supplied.]
Now, General Vandegrift testified:
It will permit officers who elect in the future to follow this type of duty to begin their specialization earlier in their careers, which should be conducive of greater competence in their specialty.
I would like to quote a paragraph of U.S. Navy Regulations, 1948, Navy Department General Order.
1381. SUCCESSION TO COMMAND BY OFFICERS OF THE MARINE CORPS 1. An officer of the Marine Corps shall not succeed to command of any ship or naval shipyard or of a naval station, except when the officer detailed to command the station is an officer of the Marine Corps.
2. An officer of the Marine Corps designated for supply duty only or detailed for duty in the Supply Department may succeed to command in supply activities of the Marine Corps, and, when directed by a senior in the chain of command, may succeed to command other activities.
There are several cases on record where line officer (not restricted in the performance of duty) without the qualifications necessary to carry out a certain job that were ably and competently filled by assistant quartermaster duty only officers or supply duty only officers.
Now, in 1961, H.R. 4328, Report 354, May 4, 1961, the testimony was given that the supply duty officer concept is one which has outlived its usefulness in the Marine Corps.
We have moved beyond the point where a small group of officers restricted in numbers and range of assignments can adequately meet the needs of the Corps in supply matters.
Well, General Shoup pointed that out.
There are these 402 officers on December 31, 1959. They are augmented by other junior officers for positions that are not a key responsibility. Also, there are several hundred limited-duty-only officers with technical qualifications who assist the Supply Department in carrying out their duties.
The Hoover Committee in June 1955, the “Business Organization of the Department of Defense,” says:
SPECIALIZATION OF PERSONNEL IN SUPPORT ACTIVITIES
The importance of the support activities within each military department clearly requires more specialization of career management and technical personnel than now exists.
On April 11, 1961, the address of the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John B. Connally, before Navy and Marine Corps officers, Constitution Hall, contained the following on page 13:
The increasing complexity of our Navy requires increasing specialization. We must look into the possibility of slowing down the rotation in order to guard against transferring our officers and men at about the time they become really proficient in a particular position. We cannot afford rotation, merely for the sake of a career pattern.
In today's Navy the demands of the various tasks are so different and so taxing that no one officer or man can hope to become even moderately proficient in all.
In an age of technology, should we not place more emphasis on engineering duty officers? Should we not take steps to even further increase the vitality of this group-particularly in the junior ranks?
Duty in the Supply Department of the Marine Corps has been compared to line officers of the Navy restricted to engineering duty only since 1937.
Again referring to this report, page 3 :
All supply-duty-only officers would be redesignated as unrestricted line. However, to protect these officers when they become eligible for their first promotion to the next higher grade, the proposed legislation states that there must be an allocation of vacancies so that the former supply-duty-only officers will receive the same portion of promotion opportunity as their counterparts within the same zone. This will, in effect, give every supply duty officer protection for promotion to the next higher grade. [Emphasis supplied.]
Well, I believe it only gives him protection for selection, not protection for promotion, because he is competing with line officers.
Now, the major general in this bill is particularly well cared for. He gets his major generalcy from the date he made brigadier generalcy.
The remainder, in my opinion, suffer enormously when considered by later selection boards as best fitted for promotion to the next higher grade for the following reasons:
1. For a great many years supply-duty-only officers were not permitted to attend the company and field officers schools at Quantico, Va. Therefore, they have not had an equitable chance to be effectively educated as line officers.
2. After the one supposedly “protection for promotion to the next higher grade,” all would, in effect, have to attend some line officers school within a short period of time to become at least exposed to the line education of those they would compete against.
3. The colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains would suffer greatly in comparison with line officers for selection as “best fitted for promotion to next higher grade” for the reason that very few would ever in their careers have had command of any line unit.
4. The schools that supply-duty-only officers usually attend, and rightly so, are schools pertaining to supply and/or logistics.
In my mind it would be more efficient in the long run to continue the present laws governing supply-duty-only officers. I read in the papers, gentlemen, that we are coming up for mobilization, and we will be confronted with the same position that we were in 1942.
We had to call in all the Regulars retired to take these positions of responsibility, and it was some time before they got their feet on the ground. This group of SDO are a group of loyal, capable, dedicated officers who have foregone their chance for the accolades of command in the line. They only wait and serve.
Now, to disturb their laws of primogeniture, as it were, would be breaking faith with them. In a few years they would be eliminated when competing with regular line officers for promotion to higher rank“as best fitted.”
I want only to see that those officers who have so faithfully and capably performed their allotted duties have a fair chance of their future opportunities for retention and advancement.
I will admit that we had a hard time during the war to get people to put in an application for supply duty only. In fact, when I first went in, I was called and said: "What have you got but a badge of shame on."
We had a pair of wheels with a sword and a pin. And the service had been kind of looked down on. Maybe they were not superior intellects. They were just the workers. They were not the honey bees.
So I want to see those people protected in some way or other.
I have other comments for the “good of the country” and for the "good of the service.”
1. Don't disturb the present Supply Department of the Marine Corps; or if the present system be changed, turn over by law all phases of supply to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts—a very efficient organization and permit present supply officers only to transfer, if they so desire, to augment them to carry out these duties. The junior duties could still be carried out by regular Marine officers.
2. The Medical Corps, the Civil Engineer Corps, the Chaplains Corps, the Bureau of Ships, the Bureau of Naval Weapons, Bureau of Aeronautics all furnish large amounts of supply and logistics support to the Marine Corps, and, from my point of view, if the Quartermaster Department is abolished, supply-duty-only officers are assigned to the line, then the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, augmented by Marine Corps supply-duty-only officers transferred to their Bureau, could easily replace the Supply Department functions in a short time.
3. This one is rather drastic. I believe that from the start it has been that I have been one person in the service who has been for this next recommendation. Organize a Service and Supply Department within the Department of Defense with equality with the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. This would be more efficient and cheaper in the long run. It would take over all the services and supply for the Department of Defense, leaving with
4. A short-range suggestion: Refer a questionnaire to all supply duty only officers in the Marine Corps asking their views on how they feel about it, and how it would affect the efficiency of the Marine