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

Force side of the issue and even relieved General Byers for being too friendly to the
Marine system. The JOC system was inflexible where the Marines' was flexible. "The
unwieldiness of the request and assignment procedure [under the JOC] continues to be
evidenced in situations where a change of plans is indicated," but the plan was not
changed because it was too difficult to modify or alter requests already made through
the JOC because of the many intervening layers of bureaucracy that extended clear up
to FAF and FEAC at the Army and theatre levels.13
Instead of ground controllers, the Air Force preferred having air-strikes controlled
by another pilot flying "Mosquito" aircraft. The weakness of this was that an air controller
in the air knew little of the ground combat situation, was not on the ground with the
requesting unit and therefore could more easily mistake the target and hit friendly
troops, was probably not trained in infantry techniques (Air Force and Navy officers
were not), and the accuracy of the strike was moderate at best because no one on the
ground was guiding it in (popping smoke or other means of identifying the target only
alerted the enemy to take cover, thus making the strike ineffective). And "Mosquitoes,"
"were still hostage to the JOC system. Either the air strikes had to be pre-planned or
they had to be requested as a matter of dire emergency."14
The AF viewed CAS as low if not last on the list of priorities for its aircraft or
aircraft under its control. It wanted to focus on interdiction, and every plane taken away
from that purpose was a waste in Air Force eyes, or a duplication of force. Air Force
13 Allan Millett, Drive North, 22, 56-59; U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," Chapter 9,
Close Air Support (Byers already had one strike against him in that he was not of the clique of officers
who had served in the ETO (European Theatre of Operations) in World War II - he had served in the
Pacific); 1MarDiv, "Report of CAS," Letter to CG Fleet Marine Force Pacific, LtGen Lemuel C. Shepherd,
from CG 1MarDiv, MajGen Gerald C. Thomas, undated, pages 1-2; Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir, 892;
1MarDiv, "Report of CAS," Letter to CG Fleet Marine Force Pacific, Lt. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, from
CG 1MarDiv, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, undated, page 2.
14 Allan Millett, Drive North, 22, 56-59.

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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 November 23, 2014.