U.S. rushing two divisions for service as new AEF (6-11-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 11, 1941)


Washington, June 11 (UP) –
A division of Marines and a division of Army infantry have been given equipment priorities to permit top speed creation of a potential American Expeditionary Force, it was learned from informed Congressional sources today.

Congressional informants explained, however, that there were no immediate plans for sending an expeditionary force outside the United States. The two divisions were being prepared for such emergencies as may arise.

The two priority divisions have first call on equipment and trained men, the United Press was informed. They would make up the footsoldier components of a force to be used if Mr. Roosevelt decided to take over Martinique or the Portuguese islands.

But the President told his Congressional advisers last week that he had no immediate plans to seize Martinique and an expedition to the Azores and Cape Verde Islands depended on Nazi domination of Portugal.

The 1st Marine Division are now at Parris Island, S.C., their home base. They trained last summer and fall at the United States’ Caribbean stronghold at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 1st Infantry Division is training at Fort Devens, Mass.

Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, disclosed to the House Appropriations Committee during recent hearings on the 1942 Army Bill that the 1st Infantry was a “task force of first priority.”

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