Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 273
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able to determine the priority of individual targets for close support than for artillery,' is
considered wholly sound and reflective of a basic weakness in the existing system."35
The way the Marine system worked, TACPs were located at each level of
command from division down to battalion level. This greatly decentralized not only the
requesting of CAS but the control of actual strikes in a way the AF, having only recently
won independence from the Army and exclusive control over air warfare (except for the
remnants of airpower in the hands of the Navy and the Marine Corps), did not trust. In
each Marine Division there were thirteen TACPs, one for each battalion (nine), one for
each regiment (three), and one for the division itself (one). Each TACP was linked
directly by radio to the TACC (or TADC). The TACC would assign aircraft to a TACP to
control for each request for an air strike (sent to the TACC by a TACP along the Tactical
Air Radio net or TAR).36
The whole process from request to delivery of a Marine CAS strike under the
Navy/Marine system went like this:
The battalion commander requests tactical air support through his own battalion
TACP, transmitting by radio direct to the TACC at highest level (or to a TADC at
Corps level). The net is monitored by the TACPs of adjacent battalions, the
parent regiment, and division FSCC [Fire Support Coordination Center]. Silence
on the part of those agencies monitoring the net indicates they have no objection
to the requested mission, whereupon the TACC (or TADC at corps level) acts on
the request immediately. Coordination as necessary with artillery and naval
gunfire, is accomplished by the appropriate FSCC. Thereafter the mission is
assigned to an airborne flight of aircraft. The requesting TACP is notified of the
aircraft assigned, the approximate time of attack and whether or not the strike is
to be directly controlled by the TACP [it usually was - the only times when it was
controlled by an airborne TAC (Tactical Air Controller, like a Mosquito under the
AF system) was if the target was out of sight of the TACP's FAC such as on the
35 Ibid., Letter entitled "Comments on ORO-R-3 Close Air Support Operations in Korea," addressed to CG
EUSAK, from CG 1MarDiv, Maj. Gen. Gerald C. Thomas, via CG X Corps, 30 September 1951. This
document consisted of Marine commentary, paragraph by paragraph, of a U. S. Army evaluation of "the
close air support problem" in Korea.
36 U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. 1," IV-B-6.
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Montandon, Joshua W. Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3938/m1/288/?rotate=270: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .