Fleet, commander of Eighth Army, and put into X Corps, the same corps it had served
under from Inchon to the Chosin Reservoir to the withdrawal from Hungnam.5
In order to complete this transfer, Van Fleet could not have General Smith
continue to command 1st Mar Div because of enmity over operations in 1950 between
Smith and MajGen Edward Almond, X Corps's commander. Ridgway had promised
Smith he would not have to serve under Almond again. And so MajGen Gerald C.
Thomas came to command 1st Mar Div in late April while the division was still engaged
in withdrawal operations to the No Name Line.6 (See Map # 9)
Smith had been no slouch as a commander, but Thomas had attended the Army's
Command and General Staff College and also got along well with many important Army
officers. He had been G-3 (operations officer) on MajGen A. A. Vandergrift's staff during
the battle of Guadalcanal, making him an insider of the Guadalcanal clique prominent in
Marine leadership after World War II and no stranger to the "Old Breed," as the 1st Mar
Div was called in that war. He proved to be a stalwart commander who followed the
Marine combat ideal of leading as close to the sound of the guns as possible. Energetic,
he frequently traveled about the division and corps area by helicopter (a necessity in the
harsh terrain), and rather than planting himself at his headquarters, spent much of his
time visiting the subordinate units of his division.7
On the No Name Line, 1st Mar Div again found combat when CCF attacked the 7th
Marines guarding a key pass on the road from Hongchon to Chunchon as a forward
"patrol base," a concept Marines disdained. "The patrol base idea was a new Army idea.
s Allan R. Millett, Drive North, 1-37; Allan R. Millett, Many a Strife, chapter 23; U. S. Pacific Fleet, "Third
Interim Evaluation Report," chapter 15.
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 May 24, 2015.