The AF and UNC saw the 1 MarDiv as greedy to strive to get the 1 MAW to
support it with CAS. To them, the Marines were not an "air ground team;" they were just
one more infantry division in Korea, never mind their preferred doctrine for combat,
never mind the fact that they were not being allowed to fight the way they had trained -
and any unit is at its least potential state of effectiveness when it does not train the way
it fights and fight the way it trained.49
In the words of the 1 MarDiv CG:
I told him [AF Gen Everest] that my interest was in this division; that we brought
our own aircraft along to this war; that our officers and men were trained and
fought with the expectation of receiving air support; that the others had not
brought their aircraft; that they had never trained with it [and thus could not utilize
it as effectively], nor ever expected it and that arguments concerning the
unfairness of so supporting us would not stand examination.50
General Ridgway, the theatre commander, had some understanding of MajGen
Thomas's position, but still thought differently than did the Marines.
I fully understand the natural desire of any Marine Corps ground
commander to be supported in combat by Marine Corps close support aviation.
This was the expressed desire of your predecessor [MajGen Oliver P. Smith]
during my service in command of Eighth Army.
Moreover, I am of the opinion that such close air support, by reason
principally of intimate combined training and of long and intimate association of
the air and ground officers concerned, will be of greater tactical effectiveness,
other factors being equal. It is not, in my opinion, at all unnatural for you to desire
that the 1st Marine Air Wing be permanently assigned to your direct support. In
fact were the 1st Marine Air Division again operating as an independent
command in this Theatre, such an assignment might logically be made, as I
believe it was in a previous operation [in either the Pusan Perimeter,
Inchon/Seoul, or Chosin Reservoir campaigns].
1st Marine Division is not, however, conducting independent operations. It
is but one Division in a Corps of several Divisions, which in turn is but one of four
combat Corps. All these units are engaged in a common struggle for a single
49 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.
o bid., Letter to CG Fleet Marine Force Pacific, Lt. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, from CG 1MarDiv, Maj.
Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, 4 Oct. 1951, page 2.
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 September 17, 2014.