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

course OY observation craft could also serve this function without requiring fighter
bombers to do it.
The Air Force system was embodied in the "Joint Training Directive for Air-
Ground Operations." This doctrine,
[W]hich the Air Force embraced as authoritative, made close air support difficult
for a ground command to obtain. Basically, the Air-Ground Operations System
(AGOS) required that a ground commander request air support prior to an
operation and be very specific about his needs. Requests had to be processed
through an Army operations officer (G-3 Air) from regiment through field army
and reviewed by an Air Force officer at each echelon of command (the air liaison
officer) until the request reached the Joint Operations Center (JOC), run by an
Air Force general, which would allocate the available air strikes. The request
system insured that close air support strikes were not likely to be tactically
relevant, but the air direction system the Air Force preferred also added to the
problem. The definition of close air support [to a Marine] was that air strikes
should be coordinated with the fire and maneuver of the ground forces through
the positive direction by a forward air controller (FAC) who was fully
knowledgeable about the ground combat situation. There was no fundamental
disagreement that a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) with reliable air-ground
communications (vehicle- or ground-mounted) should be available so the FAC
could direct air strikes by sight, just like an artillery forward observer. The Air
Force, however, did not want to use its own personnel for such missions, and it
did not trust the Army to provide a competent FAC. The Air Force might provide
an Air Liaison Party down to regimental level to do air-strike planning, but it was
not going to send Air Force officers (presumably pilots) out to the front to direct
air strikes.12
Under the Air Force system in 1951, which Marines were put under after the
Hungnam Redeployment, CAS strikes averaged over an hour late when they arrived at
all, and only half were effective. Many Army officers, too, were upset over having to use
the Air Force JOC system and greatly preferred the Marine System of CAS. Among
these were Maj. Gen. Edward Almond, CO of X Corps, and Maj. Gen. Clovis E. Byers,
who would command X Corps at a later date. However, due to a trend towards
squashing any issues of interservice contention, UNC repeatedly came down on the Air


12 Allan R. Millett, Drive North, 20.

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. Accessed September 25, 2016.