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

objective, as too are all supporting naval and air units participating in the Korean
The real issue raised by your [MajGen Gerald C. Thomas, CG 1MarDiv]
request [to have the 1 MAW support only the 1 MarDiv when the 1 MarDiv is in
combat and for a minimum number of CAS sorties per day of combat to be
provided the 1MarDiv] is whether one Division among many on the line in Korea
is to receive a wholly disproportionate close air support, at the expense of all
other Divisions, in order that the Marine Corps contingent - ground and air - may
operate as it was intended and organized to operate, as a separate force on
Marine Corps missions, or whether the Marine Air Wing like all other combat air
elements available to this Command, shall be employed in as equitable support
of all elements of the ground forces as the tactical situation dictates, and the
Marine Division itself receive neither more nor less that its equally gallant and
deserving companion divisions. [But the other divisions were not receiving their
due in Marine eyes - the whole of Eighth Army was being deprived of CAS by
the AF.]51
However, the idea that the 1 MarDiv would receive a disproportionate amount of
CAS was flawed in the Marine view. The Marines saw anything less than a full MAW
supporting one division as disproportionate, and that if the other divisions received less
than that in equivalent, that was because they were not using the most effective
doctrine for CAS or that the AF was not using the most effective overall employment of
tactical air power. (The other divisions would only receive less if the JOC allocated less
than the amount of one Air Wing per division to them, something the AF would not
conscience because it saw interdiction as the primary mission of air power, and CAS
inside the bombline as merely duplicating artillery.) The Marines thought that Army
commanders, too, should insist on the maximum possible amount of CAS for their
divisions (something MajGen Edward Almond, CG X Corps, and his successor, Clovis
E. Byers, both believed in and fought for with the latter even being relieved for it); that
the AF JOC doctrine was not just less effective but deeply flawed; that their more sound
techniques should replace the JOC system for the entire theatre; and that the JOC
sI Ibid., Letter to CG 1MarDiv, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, from CINCUNC General Matthew B.
Ridgway, 15 Oct. 1951, pages 1-2.


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. Accessed September 28, 2016.