A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 17 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 17

Among the officers there should be severe examinations to weed out the unfit up to the grade of major. From that position on appoint ments should be solely by selection and it should be understood that a man of merely average capacity could never get beyond the position of major, while every man who serves in any grade a certain length of time prior to promotion to the next grade without getting the promo tion to the next grade should be forthwith retired. The practice marches and field maneuvers of the last two or three years have been invaluable to the Army. They should be continued and extended. A rigid and not a perfunctory examination of physical capacity has been provided for the higher grade officers. This will work well. Unless an officer has a good physique, unless he can stand hardship, ride well, and walk fairly, he is not fit for any position, even after he has become a colonel. Before he has become a colonel the need for physical fitness in the officers is almost as great as in the enlisted man. I hope speedily to see introduced into the Army a far more rigid and thoroughgoing test of horsemanship for all field officers than at present. There should be 'a Chief of Cavalry just as there is a Chief of Artillery.

Perhaps the most important of all legislation needed for the benefit of the Army is a law to equalize and increase the pay of officers and enlisted men of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and revenue-cutter Service. Such a bill has been prepared, which it is hoped will meet with your favorable consideration. The next most essential measure is to authorize a number of extra officers as mentioned above. To make the Army more attractive to enlisted men, it is absolutely essential to create a service corps, such as exists in nearly every modern army in the world, to do the skilled and unskilled labor, inseparably connected with military administration, which is now exacted, without just com pensation, of enlisted men who voluntarily entered the Army to do service of an altogether different kind. There are a number of other laws necessary to so organize the Army as to promote its efficiency and facilitate its rapid expansion in time of war; but the. Above are the most important.

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