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

provided to the ground force in executing its scheme of maneuver and seizing its
However, though the purpose and application of air power in Marine eyes was to
support the ground effort and be integrated with it, the commander of the 1 MAW was
not subordinate to the commander of the 1MarDiv. Rather, as in the Army/AF system,
the two were coequal (this does not mean their purposes were coequal like the AF and
the Army saw theirs as). They cooperated with one another and were under the same
administrative commander, FMFPAC (Fleet Marine Force Pacific) commander, LtGen
Lemuel Shepherd through much of the war of movement in Korea, and were both part
of X Corps while it was an independent command. But under the JOC system, the 1
MAW was part of FAF and the 1Mar Div was under Eighth Army. Operationally, their
lowest common commander was General Ridgway, CINCUNC (Commander in Chief
United Nations Command).
Marine Corps ground commanders did not command Marine aviation units as
some Air Force officers thought. Navy and Marine units assigned to an
amphibious task force functioned under the direction of a single air officer. During
the assault phase, this officer would be a Navy officer, but during extended
operations ashore it would be a Marine aviator. Marine aircraft wings were not
attached to Marine divisions. Either aircraft wing commanders and division
commanders worked on a cooperative basis (as did Army field army
commanders and Air Force tactical air commanders) or they functioned under a
common superior, the amphibious task force commander or the landing force
commander once ashore.32
The Marine system of decentralization was heavily influenced by amphibious
doctrine. While one Tactical Air Control Center indeed had administrative and
operational control over all tactical air from the Joint Expeditionary Force level down, it
31 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1," IV-B-4.
32 Allan R. Millett, "Korea, 1950-1953," 352.


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 April 18, 2015.