He Sells the Army to Congress
By WALLACE EDWIN A Washington
HE tall, handsome officer with the
Brigadier's star and the iron-gray
hair and military moustache who is gaining such wide recognition in the nation's
press these days is brother Wilton B.
Persons, Auburn '16, head of the Army's
legislative and liaison division in the office of the Chief of Staff. It is his job to
draw up Army-sponsored bills, explain
War Department wants, and answer congressmen's questions, which cover the
wide range from personal problems of
soldier constituents to armament production. His division also arranges General
Marshall's occasional off-the-record conferences with key legislators, such as that
of last fall dealing with the North African campaign and explaining the agreement with Darlan.
He has been doing this sort of work
since 1933, when he became aide to assistant secretary of war Woodring, handling procurement planning and contact
work with the House Military Affairs
Committee and, thanks largely to him.
Congressional leaders today clearly understand our nation's military needs.
General Persons is an enthusiastic Phi
and all the brothers who have foregathered with him at functions of the fraternity are extremely fond of him. In the
early 20's, when a captain in the Engineer
Corps and located in Seattle in charge
of the Alaska-Seattle cable system, he
was an active member of our very active
alumni club, and later, when attached
to the military department at the University of Minnesota he continued his
interest as a member of the Minneapolis
alumni group. "Slick," as he was affectionately known in Seattle, or "Jerry,"
as we knew him in Minneapolis, was a
brilliant chap and was considered "tops"
as a soldier, a gentleman and a Phi by
all who knew him.
And now another
on the rolls of Alabama Beta,
WILTON BURTON PERSONS, Auburn
Newsweek says of him that while he has all of
the ideal appearance commonly associated with
generals he shows none of the brusqueness
usually attributed to them. (Photo U. S. Army
where General Persons was initiated in
1914 and where he graduated with honors in 1916.
After World War I, from which brother Persons emerged a captain with overseas service credited to his record, he
chose to follow the Army as his life
career, and has had a great variety of
assignments in the meantime. He remained a captain for seventeen
until then he started on the
road to rapid promotion. A year at the
Command and General Staff School at
Fort Leavenworth groomed him for the
general staff; another year at the Tactical
School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, gave
him insight into the Air Forces.
All in all, between air school, trips
with congressmen and flights with a
brother who is an aviator, the general
has stacked up some 1,200 hours of