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U.s. Infantrymen Under Fire

May 2024
1min read


Like many other Detroiters, I was very familiar with the writings of General Marshall (“The Secret of the Soldiers Who Didn’t Shoot,” by Fredric Smoler, March issue). In fact, his military column in the Detroit News , coupled with an abundance of World War II films (which always seemed to star John Wayne), probably influenced my Army enlistment as a seventeen-year-old private during the Korean War.

It is not difficult to understand why so many career Army officers of World War II failed to come forward to defend the American infantryman against Marshall’s assertions regarding the ratio of fire. It seems to me Marshall was an icon not to be questioned if an officer sought promotion.

If I were young and contemplating enlistment, second thoughts might arise in reading that only one-quarter of my buddies would fire at an enemy prepared to kill me. Perhaps this statement would not have received such wide currency if someone had had the audacity to simply check his claims of glory during World War I.

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