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Lorenzo Dow Gasser
Major General, United States Army
 Ohio State Flag
Lorenzo Dow Gasser of Ohio
Appointed from Ohio, Captain, 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 25 April 1898
Honorably mustered out 10 February 1899
First Lieutenant, 43rd U. S. Volunteer Infantry, 17 August 1899
Captain, 30 April 1901
Honorably mustered out 5 July 1901
Second Lieutenant, 21st U. S. Infantry, 2 February 1901
First Lieutenant, 28th U. S. Infantry, 14 January 1902

1918 - Assistant Chief of Staff III Corps, Western Front
Assistant Chief of Staff 1st Army, Western Front
1919 Assistant Chief of Staff American Expeditionary Force
1939-1940 Deputy Chief of Staff US Army
1940 Retired
1941 Recalled
1941-1945 Member War Department Manpower Board
1945 Retired


Monday, Feb. 5, 1945
The Comb-Out

To meet its own manpower crisis the Army is combing itself out with a heavy hand. Already most of the physically fit have been curried from headquarters offices, quartermaster depots and transportation centers. By last week there were fewer than 7,000 combat-fit ground force troops in the U.S., and fewer than 5,000 service force troops who could qualify for battle duty. Now the Army is raking over its last fields: bases overseas.

The man who did much of the combing-out job is hardheaded, old (68) Major General Lorenzo Dow Gasser, veteran of the Spanish war. Gasser, serving in the Office of Civilian Defense in the early, jittery days of the war, met the civilian clamor for gas masks, fire-fighting apparatus, etc. with a hardboiled: "The military comes first. The civilians will have to get along as best they can." Over a year and a half ago, General Gasser charged into the Army's combing-out job, leading 14 "personnel audit" teams.

At All Costs. In the U.S. last March there were more than half a million soldiers physically qualified for combat who were serving as "overhead" troops (administration, maintenance, communications, etc.). By the end of November the number had been cut almost in half. Gasser & Co. could claim credit for 100,000 of them. All but some 10,000 men of those left were in the Air Forces, which gave up 80,000 and insisted that they needed the rest for domestic operations.

At one time or another every commanding officer in the U.S. begged Washington to take old man Gasser off his neck, but the high command turned a deaf ear. The war's paramount need was for men who could fight, and they had to be dug up, no matter what it cost. In December, the cry for fighting men became more insistent. The Rhine Valley offensive had cost Eisenhower 55,000 more men than he could immediately replace. With rifle strength in many divisions cut a third to a half, Eisenhower shouted for reinforcements. The Ardennes breakthrough made his appeal more urgent than ever.

General Marshall had to add 25,000 men to Ike's January quota to help replace his 40,000 casualties in the Bulge. He further increased the flow of infantrymen to the theater by shipping the infantry regiments of a number of divisions still in training, in advance of their artillery regiments. Taking other measures to meet a continuing crisis, the War Department has asked Selective Service to increase draft calls to 80,000 in January and February, 100,000 from then on; has reduced the training period from 17 to 15 weeks.

Gasser to Comm Z. On his hunt for new infantrymen in Europe, General Marshall's talent-hunter Gasser will operate under the new command of Lieut. General Ben Lear (see below). The Lear and Gasser hunting ground will be Major General John C. H. Lee's behind-the-front Service Forces command, known locally as "Comm Z" (Army slang for communications zone).

Comm Z, like other base forces which have sometimes outnumbered the forces in the front line, has grown fat with able-bodied personnel. "Courthouse" Lee has done some combing, but lightly; latterly he has demanded a hospitalized veteran for every man he gives up to the combat-training camps. Gasser's combing will be ruthless; his orders are stern and clear. When he gets through with Comm Z, the Army's rear-echelon establishments will be pretty well raked clean of all men fit for combat.



LD Gasser Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, July 2006
GASSER, LORENZO DOW
MAJ GEN USA
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/03/1876
DATE OF DEATH: 10/29/1955
BURIED AT: SECTION 3  SITE 1696-A
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
  
GASSER, MOLLY S W/O LORENZO DOW
DATE OF BIRTH: 02/28/1877
DATE OF DEATH: 07/05/1951
BURIED AT: SECTION 3  SITE 1696-A
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
 WUFE OF LD GASSER, MAJOR GENERAL U S A
Posted: 16  September 2006