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Major General Donald M. Weller, Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force-116. QUSMC Photo A407463).

 

borrow heavily from this arrangement to define the relationships of Marine and Air Force tactical aviation assets.

Training began almost immediately after the Marine units were in position at Udorn and Nong Ta Kai. Generally the MEB adhered to a training program designed to help fulfill three requirements:

to make its presence known and thereby enhance its credibility as a 'show offeree'; to acclimatize the individual Marines to the hot, humid, tropical climate; and finally, to familarize the operational elements and their commanders with the surrounding terrain. The primary objective of this program, of course, was to prepare the brigade for combat should that contingency arise out of the troubled situation in Laos. Coordinated air-ground exercises conducted around Udorn enabled General Simpson's command to publicize its presence in the area while concurrently refining its heliborne and close air support capabilities.* In addition to air-ground exercises. Lieutenant Colonel Adams' infantry companies sharpened their skills in patrolling of all types and made frequent use of nearby Thai Army firing ranges to maintain their weapons proficiency. All field training was conducted in an unpopulated area defined by the Thai government and every precaution was taken so as not to disturb the local population. The Marine units utilized blank ammunition exclusively in training except for the closely supervised live fire exercises.

Brigadier General Ormond R. Simpson and Brigadier General John F. Dobbin confer at Udorn, Thailand. (USMC Photo A182779').

Realizing that the ultimate success or failure of the American commitment in Thailand might hinge on the relationships U.S. military men established with the Thai populace. General Simpson ordered his command to initiate a civic action program. The day after his arrival at Udorn, Simpson met with local civilian officials and established the basis for a peoplc-to-people program similar to the one instituted by SHUFLY Marines at Soc Trang. Thereafter, the MEB's goal in this area was to foster among the Thai a favorable impression of the individual Marine, his commanders, and his

*The MEB's after action report pointed out one flaw in the composition of the Provisional MAG. There had been no provision made to include light observation aircraft in its organization. As a result, aerial reconnaissance had to be accomplished from either A-4Cs or HUS-ls, neither of which 'was configured for such a mission. The A-4C, which could carry only the pilot, and the HUS-1 proved equally unsuited for reconnaissance missions. The 3d MEB report specifically recommended that future composite aviation packages of this nature should include a detachment of OEs with pilots and trained aerial observers.



Page 92(The Advisory & Combat Assistance Era: 1954-1964)