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

reserve was for the purpose (though vetoed by higher HQ) of conducting an amphibious
"end run," something the Marines would have pulled men away to participate in even if
only a single private was left to defend a regimental sector. In any case, as part of X
Corps, the division certainly had to, and rightly so, come to the aide of its embattled
fellow UN divisions. And while the CG 1 Mar Div chose the CAS issue as the cause for
the high casualties suffered by his Marines, perhaps the divided attention of the division
between defensive and offensive mission mandated by orders and decisions from
higher commands, is partly to blame. But how could that have been alleviated unless
the Truman Administration had authorized and sent more troops to Korea?43
Marines were not above mistakes and not all Marines adhered to the ideals of the
Corps. For instance, some Marine officers did not follow Spike Selmyhr and Gerald
Averill's examples, and the Marine ideal, of leading from the front.
One Marine of Fox 2/7 shot himself in the hand in order to get out of combat.
Averill remarked: "The weak are always there, in small numbers but ever present, and
others must carry their loads. The strong had survived that night, had stood fast, had
changed the enemy assault from certain victory into a rout. The lessons learned so well
in other battles, in other places, were borne out once again. Look after your men, and
they will look after you." Though small numbers of Marines proved "weak," the strength
43 Let not the reader misinterpret the argument to infer that the Marine Corps was not a part of the U. S.
fighting forces. This is not the case at all. The Marine Corps was every bit as much a part as any other
service was. In the case of 1951, the Marine division in Korea was set to the same task as Army divisions
under Army command when according to its doctrine it was to operate under Naval command for primarily
amphibious operations. However, as Gen Thomas told General Almond when questioned on a rumor that
he had said the corps commander could go to hell: "I will execute any order it is proper for a soldier to
receive." The 1 Mar Div, even when fighting for better CAS, never at any point considered itself out of
subordination to EUSAK or its corps commander, its correspondence on the subject up the chain of
command always stated that it was not unwilling or less than immediately ready to execute the orders and
tasks given it to the fullest degree. The Marines in Korea had envisioned a different use for their forces,
but never at any point saw themselves as insubordinate, or the mission currently engaged-in, as beneath
them to perform. They pursued these with every bit as much vigor as the Army divisions on the line with
them. See the quote from General Thomas at the beginning of Chapter on CAS.

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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 August 1, 2014.