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

The state of Marine training of combat units prior to Korea had a heavy emphasis
on CAS, despite the peacetime budgetary cuts:
The intensity, diversity, and realism of the pre-Korean training conducted
by FMF elements was a major factor in the combat success of the Brigade,
lstMarDiv, and 1stMAW. Unit training constantly emphasized the fundamental
Marine Corps conviction that initiative, professional competence, and leadership
in junior officers and noncommissioned officers must be developed. Through
combined exercises of the various ground arms and services with supporting air,
valuable experience was gained in the skillful exploitation and use of the
maximum capabilities of the supporting arms and services ...
Training programs were based on the assumption that expeditionary duty
involving combat was imminent. There was a continued insistence on realistic
operations (as realistic as peacetime safety and budgetary considerations
permitted), under combat conditions for both combat and service units. For
combat units, frequent live firing training problems were a requirement....
During the pre-Korean period, FMF units conducted numerous ground and
air-ground training problems, field exercises, command post, and amphibious
exercises. Particularly significant were the reinforced infantry battalion and
regimental field exercises which habitually employed close air support. It was
through these exercises that ground commanders, staffs, and troops acquired
increased knowledge of the employment and capabilities of close air support and
confidence in the results to be obtained from its use. At the same time, aviation
commanders, pilots, and forward air controllers were not only maintaining a high
level of proficiency in current techniques and procedures but were also
developing improved techniques in identification and location of friendly front
lines and enemy targets and for providing close air support best suited to various
ground force schemes of maneuver.22
Closely allied to accuracy and training was the factor of ground control (meaning
also that actual pilots served with the infantry as Forward Air Controllers, so someone
who knew tactical aviation from the pilot's perspective and combat from the
infantryman's view, particularly in the pertinent situation at hand, would be guiding the
pilot to the target). This meant that a Marine pilot was with the infantry as a FAC. He
would then guide in the pilots to the target by radio, talking directly to them. A pilot on
the scene with the ground forces was, in Marine eyes, far more effective than an
airborne "mosquito." There were also several advantages to this system. For one thing,
22 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS," IV-A-5.


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 February 8, 2016.