Battle for the Punchbowl: The U. S. 1st Marine Division 1951 Fall Offensive of the Korean War Page: 275
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successful. Stevens asked for an air strike. Overhead the orbiting Corsairs were
briefed and the target marked. Within minutes, a five hundred-pound bomb was
placed on the position and the guns were obliterated.
From that moment, the issue was no longer in doubt. The enemy began to
withdraw; the withdrawal became a rout under the combined assault of ground
and air. Before the day was over, the enemy was driven across the Naktong
[River] and the river was clogged with the dead.39
That five hundred-pound bomb was dropped close enough to Marine lines to
bowl over a few Marines with the concussion, but the effect on Marine morale was
stupendous, the effect on that of the enemy, crushing.40
Another pertinent quote to the close proximity of Marine CAS to the front lines,
which the Korean War era 1st Marine Air Wing (1st MAW) was famous for delivering
without friendly casualties, follows:
... on 10 January 1951 Brig. General Homer W. Kiefer, commanding 7th Infantry
Division Artillery, wrote the Commandant of the Marine Corps: " During the period
19 September to 20 December 1950 close air support of this division was
furnished almost exclusively by the 1st Marine Air Wing... in 57 days of combat
1,024 sorties were flown by Marine aircraft (largely Corsairs) in close support of
the division without a single casualty among our own troops due to friendly air
action. This record I attribute to the fact that adequate control was available with
front line units. In many instances Marine planes were bombing and strafing
within 200 yards of our front lines . . . Allow me to reemphasize my appreciation
for the outstanding air support received by this division. The Marine system of
control, in my estimation, approaches the ideal and I firmly believe that a similar
system should be adopted as standard for Army divisions." In his endorsement
Major General Edward M. Almond, X Corps commander, declared he wished to
"emphasize" Kiefer's final statement regarding the Marine system of Tactical Air
Control, which "has proved itself on every occasion." General MacArthur added
that "this correspondence again illustrates the outstanding support that Marine air
is providing ground forces in Korean operations." (Fourth endorsement.)41
39 lbid., 190-91.
40 Jon T. Hoffman, Colonel, USMCR, "1st Marine Division Korea History," in Robert J. Martin, ed., First
Marine Division, Vol. I: Korea (Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 2000): 14.
41 Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, (Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces
Press, 1952): 290n; U. S. Marine Corps, "MCBS Vol. II," Appendix # 62.
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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/m1/290/?rotate=90: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .