The Actions and Operational Thinking of Generals Stratemeyer and Partridge during the Korean War: Adjusting to Political Restrictions of Air Campaigns

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Airpower played an important supporting role in the Korean War, and as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur pursued victory in the war and President Harry S Truman's objectives altered throughout the first year of the conflict, tension arose between the two men. One issue in these frictions was the restriction of airpower. Not only MacArthur, but also his admiring subordinate Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer commanding the Far East Air Forces, and Fifth Air Force commander Major General Earle E. Partridge opposed the restrictions which had been imposed on airmen from the outset of the conflict. Stratemeyer did so ... continued below

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Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael May 2008.

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  • Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael

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Airpower played an important supporting role in the Korean War, and as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur pursued victory in the war and President Harry S Truman's objectives altered throughout the first year of the conflict, tension arose between the two men. One issue in these frictions was the restriction of airpower. Not only MacArthur, but also his admiring subordinate Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer commanding the Far East Air Forces, and Fifth Air Force commander Major General Earle E. Partridge opposed the restrictions which had been imposed on airmen from the outset of the conflict. Stratemeyer did so partly because of his loyalty to MacArthur, who wanted latitude in coping with the situation in the field and defeating the Communist enemy. Partridge did so because he thought they endangered his personnel and limited the effectiveness of airpower in the war. These commanders had a fundamentally different opinion from Washington regarding the likelihood of overt Soviet intervention in the war, and because they did not think the Korean War would become a world war, they were more willing than Washington to prosecute the war more aggressively. MacArthur's conflict ended with his removal in April 1951, and Stratemeyer (who suffered a heart attack weeks afterward) continued to advocate for forceful American foreign policy in Asia during his retirement. Partridge eventually earned four stars and long after the war likewise continued to disfavor the restrictions which had been put in place. Between oral history interviews in 1974 and 1978, however, Partridge reconsidered the issue of restrictions. He expressed that the Korean War had been a considerable challenge without a wider war, implying that restrictions had perhaps been important.

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  • May 2008

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  • Oct. 2, 2008, 4:45 p.m.

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  • Dec. 4, 2013, 10:25 a.m.

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Sambaluk, Nicholas Michael. The Actions and Operational Thinking of Generals Stratemeyer and Partridge during the Korean War: Adjusting to Political Restrictions of Air Campaigns, thesis, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6056/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .