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

the pilot was on site with the men the strike was to support, was familiar with flying CAS
from the cockpit and thus could talk the plane onto target more effectively. CAS could
be brought much closer to friendly lines with the skill this technique facilitated, and
therefore, the infantry had less distance to cross when the strike was lifted, thus
allowing them to bridge the gap and get at the enemy while his head was still down from
the bombardment, and save infantry lives because the men would be exposed to enemy
fire for a shorter interval. Furthermore, "Battalions are not required to consult with or
receive assent from higher echelons, in regard to requests for air support or in regard to
control of aircraft delegated for accomplishing supporting missions . . . This Procedure
requires but a few minutes. It is flexible and decisive. A minimum of time elapses
between the time of request for a mission and the execution of the mission." And,
having the strike under the control of the unit making the request, and thus under the
command of the ground commander, the strike was much better utilized in a manner
critical to the progress of the infantry towards their objective. (It would be under an AF
officer in the JOC system).23
Under the JOC system, air support was provided to the Eighth Army by
"Mosquito" planes flown by AF personnel rather than FACs on the ground with the
infantry. (However, the 1MarDiv retained its own FACs despite the addition of the
Mosquitoes.) These Mosquito planes acted as orbiting controllers and guided in CAS
planes to the targets via radio. However, they were in the air, not on the ground and
thus much less familiar with the ground combat situation, had no infantry training, were
AF officers under the command of JOC, not the unit on the ground, and being airborne
had nearly as much trouble discerning the location of friendly lines as the CAS planes
23 Ibid., IV-B-6.

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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 December 26, 2014.