The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 67
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Notes and Documents
echelon officers and men were seldom sent to combat units. Senior
officers in the rear were generally worthless and the commanding of-
ficer of Naples3" was possibly the most hated man in Italy, according
to Stovall's narrative." Specifically, he pointed out:
Our men sent to rest camp are being arrested for "nothing": a button
off, out after hours, a little too much to drink, or just to be found
without a Naples pass. They are "hauled in," often beaten up, and sent
back to [their] unit with an order that they will be tried by military court.
I don't approve of breaking regulations, but I think a fighting soldier
should be able to let his hair down and let off a little steam after months
of continuous battle.87
Rear echelon harassment did not go unanswered; Stovall devised a
method of protecting his people against some of this mistreatment.
First, I made the error of showing my anger by endorsing the order
with a statement: "It is the right of a unit commander to punish
his troops as he may desire and not within the scope of Base Section
Commander. Order returned without action." That got me- in. trouble
Next, I let division Special Court handle the problem . .
That Court . . . was much too severe, so as a last resort, I set up
my own court with the Bn Ex. Off. [Executive Officer] as President.
He advised Base Section the date and location that court would be
held and asked that witness be present. Court was called for ,o7.oo hours
and was delayed until end of day. If the "gun-shy" witness was still around
at that time, and there was no way out, the court assessed a minimum
penalty. I, as reviewing officer, found some excuse for remitting the penalty.
After a few cases no witness[es] appeared, and the cases were thrown
out for lack of evidence."8
Another subject about which the colonel had strong convictions
was the awarding of decorations.
Much could . . . be said about decorations. I remember Col. Finch,"9
5Major General Arthur R. Wilson assumed command of Peninsular Base Section on
March 27, 1944, succeeding Brigadier General Arthur W. Pence. Previously, Wilson had
commanded the Mediterranean Base Section. Tools of War, An Illustrated History of the
Peninsular Base Section; Army Service Forces, Mediterranean Theater of Operations from
Salerno Landing, II September 1943 to V-J Day, 2 September 1945 (Leghorn, Italy, 1946),
"6Stovall Narrative, 65.
S9Henry Abercrombie Finch, o2119, was assigned to the VIII Corps Area (Fort Sam
Houston) from October 1, 1938, to October 22, 1940; VIII Army Corps (Fort Sam Hous-
ton and Brownwood, Texas) from October 22, 1940, to May 21, 1941; and VIII Army
Corps (Brownwood) from May 22, 1941, to November 30, 1941. Babcock to R.L.W.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/83/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.