Gen. George C. Marshall

Gen. George C. Marshall
(U. S. Army Signal Corps Photograph – NARA)

Maj. Glenn Miller had two brushes with the brilliant commanding general of the United States Army and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during World War II, Gen. George C. Marshall, who, of course, later served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense of the United States of America. Readers will recognize this illustrious American leader as the visionary proponent of what became known as the “Marshall Plan” to feed and rebuild Europe following World War II. DuringĀ 1943, then-Capt. Glenn Miller ran afoul of Gen. Marshall and the War Department after he was quoted in Time magazine as being critical of Army bands, pushing for more the use of modern music and allegedly saying “anyone can improve on (John Philip) Sousa.” Gen. Marshall was keenly interested in the U. S. Army Band and concerned that the young and soon-to-be independent Army Air Forces under the command of his protege Gen. H. H. Arnold had moved ahead of the Army in the development of music programs that appealed to young Americans and aided recruiting, and, of course, the Capt. Miller was employed by the AAF. In November 1944 Gen. Marshall offered Maj. Miller command of the U. S. Army Band while Miller was deployed in the European Theater of Operations with SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force). The offer was communicated through SHAEF Chief of Staff Gen. Walter B. Smith. Miller declined the offer to the relief of SHAEF and the AAF. Learn about the connections between Gen. Marshall and Maj. Miller in Glenn Miller Declassified, now available from the Potomac Books imprint of the University of Nebraska Press.