Col. David H. Hackworth argued most persuasively {"Bring Back Blood-and-Guts Patton," Outlook, June 7} that we should turn the military leadership of this country over to the "true fighters." I would respectfully suggest that, based on our history, this is not the direction in which we should turn.

I served in Gen. Patton's Third Army as a sergeant of infantry, a squad leader, and was proud to do so. Gen. Patton was one hell of a great combat leader. We knew he was dedicated to winning and that this meant not only fewer casualties but that we might get home sooner.

I was very glad and proud that George Patton commanded my Army, but I was equally grateful that George C. Marshall was chief of staff. Gen. Marshall was a man of great ability -- a good trainer and superb at selecting people. However, he never commanded troops in battle and could never have been referred to as "Blood and Guts."

Of course, we need good fighters and we ought to figure out how to train and keep them. But let us not lose sight of something else: good fighters need a good army, and that takes good management. Why have we been unable to find another George Marshall? When we find him, he will find a way to encourage the fighting generals we also need.

JOHN H. F. HOVING Washington