Daily Items


Topic DDE: Two Stars on Schedule
Date 15-Feb-2014


From Time Magazine, 13-Apr-1942


Through the mazes of staff work in the big Louisiana maneuvers last fall unhurriedly strode a tall, bald colonel. As Chief of Staff of the Blue Army he kept good-humored command of the most complicated situation the U.S. Army, Model 1941, had ever met. Fellow officers watched his work with admiration, told newsmen: "Watch Ike. He'll be a major general in six months."

They were right. Last fortnight Dwight David Eisenhower (after brief service as a brigadier) was appointed a major general by President Roosevelt, was confirmed the same day by the Senate. He was also given a job that was full recognition of his reputation as one of the finest staff officers in the Army. He became chief of the new Operations Section of the General Staff.

Operations was another of the big changes in Army organization made by General George Marshall. After trimming his top-heavy staff to a minimum and consolidating the Army into three branches (Air, Ground and Supply) he had set it in its proper perspective with the outside.

He did this by abolishing the General Staff's once-cloistered War Plans Division (headed since December by Eisenhower) and replacing it with Operations. As a section with much wider functions, Operations will coordinate the Army's global fighting problem, will lay out the framework of force needed to meet the enemy, wherever he is. Operations will also be the Army's (and Air Force's) link with the U.S. Navy and with a new brain child of George Marshall, the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the Allied Nations (TIME, March 30). For such a job Army men agreed that their chief could have picked no better man than "Ike" Eisenhower.

West Pointer (1915), pioneer Army tank officer and graduate of the service's best schools, Texas-born Eisenhower also has something that no school can give a soldier: common, practical sense. But common sense alone could not explain his swift and steady rise in the past six years to pivotal staff jobs. (Back in 1935 Douglas MacArthur picked him as his No. 2 man when he went to the Philippines as Commonwealth Military Adviser.)

In the Islands, Dwight Eisenhower was up to his quizzical eyebrows in laying the plans for defense that are still paying off the Jap. He also made up, in part, at least, a deficiency in his education. He took instruction in flying, piled up more than 300 hours as a pilot before he was called back to the U.S. To Air Force men, who are all sure they will win this war in the long run, this is the best possible substitute for a full education in the air at its own schools and in its fighting squadrons. If the Army's Operations Section was going to be headed by a ground-trained officer; capable, free-wheeling "Ike" was the flying people's choice.

If you are a subscriber to Time Magazine (print edition), you can access any of the Time Archives articles for free including hundreds of articles from WWII.  Quite fascinating to read "contemporary items" about the major events.