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

what action was being taken on his request, the commander of the Division could not
rely on air support in planned operations." General Thomas told General Frank Everest,
commander of FAF, "As a division commander, in order to make an attack, and I know
exactly what I have got to do with tomorrow morning in my own division - I've got
artillery, supporting weapons and all - but you ask me to go into an attack and I don't
know what weapons I'm going to have, I don't know what planes I'm going to have to
support me until JOC tells me tomorrow morning what the hell's coming up... I simply
can't plan operations on that basis."38
Furthermore, the planes that did arrive, when not Marine aviators, had no clue how
to deliver CAS. A flight of ten New Zealand planes was sent in one day, and they
dropped their ordnance on friendly lines. The Marines told them to go home. To them,
no support at all was better than that kind of sloppiness. Thomas did some research
about that particular day, and found that JOC had given the 1st MAW sorties that day to
an ROK division, and the Marines the New Zealanders even though the 1st MAW air
field was only fifteen miles away.39
In fairness to the Air Force, however, it should be pointed out that an air war of
interdiction was not exactly the war it would have preferred to fight, either. Its doctrine
mandated the destruction of the enemy's capacity to wage war by attacking his
production centers, but since these were mostly located in China in 1951, they could not
be attacked unless Truman decided to expand the war, something he was absolutely
against, as the wrangle with MacArthur and his firing shows.40
38 U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third Interim Evaluation Report," 1-13; Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir, 890.
39 Gerald C. Thomas Oral Memoir, 888.
40 Conrad C. Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953 (Lawrence, KS: University Press of
Kansas, 2000): Introduction.


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 August 21, 2014.