Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War

CHAPTER 11

CLOSE AIR SUPPORT
I am prepared to reaffirm my prior conviction that the close
air support furnished my Division during the heavy fighting of
10-22 September was not adequate and that casualties
resulted directly from the deficiency. Adequacy of air support
in this case, I view as extending not to the number of sorties
alone, but to the other important matters of timeliness of
sorties, adequacy of armament and quality of performance. I
likewise confirm my stated preference that Marines on the
ground be supported by Marine aircraft - solely because of
the more effective coordination attainable as a result of our
extended and detailed training together. I do not view such
an arrangement as a matter of meeting special requirements
- of which this Division has none - but rather as a means of
achieving greater efficiency, and thus to further the common
effort.
--MajGen Gerald C. Thomas
The Marine concept of Close Air Support and the controversy between the
Navy/Marine Corps and the Army/Air Force (AF) over the CAS system used by EUSAK
in Korea, played a significant role in the events surrounding the battle in September,
1951. The Marine Corps had a different idea of how CAS should be conducted than the
AF, and an understanding of the Marine concept for CAS and how it differs from the AF
way is necessary to understand this controversy and the importance this battle had in it.
Throughout the Corps's time as expeditionary or amphibious troops it was a
combined arms force, so that by the time of Korea it was an integrated spearhead
consisting of infantry, artillery, armor, and air components organized according to the
Air-Ground Team concept. But while the Corps was a combined arms branch, the tip of
its spear had, since the early nineteenth century, been its infantry.

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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/. Accessed August 21, 2014.