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Corps Schools at Quantico, Virginia, and then headed the Amphibious Warfare Branch, Office of Naval Research, in Washington. After two years with the Central Intelligence Agency and a promotion to colonel. General Cushman joined the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleet, in London, and then returned to the United States as a member of the faculty ot the Armed Forces Staff College. In 1956, he commanded an infantry regiment, the 2d Marines, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the following year became the assistant tor national security affairs to then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Following promotion to general officer rank and a tour with the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa as assistant division and then division commander, General Cushman returned to Washington in 1962 where he filled the positions of assistant chief of staff for intelligence and then for operations at Headquarters, Marine Corps. In 1964, he became commander of Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, where in June 1966 he formed the 5th Marine Division to meet the increasing manpower demands caused by the Vietnam War. Arriving in Vietnam in April 1967 as Deputy Commander, III MAF, General Cushman on 1 June 1967 relieved Lieutenant General Lewis W. Walt as commanding general. Cushman's diverse experience would serve him in good stead to face the complications of command in Vietnam.3

Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A371378

Army Gen William C. Westmoreland, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command. Vietnam, visits a Marine battalion command post south of Da Nang. Gen Westmoreland is the senior U.S. military commander in South Vietnam.

 

MACV and Command Arrangements

As the war expanded, command arrangements, like the U.S. commitment, evolved over time without a master plan. Having originated in January 1962 as a small advisory organization, the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (USMACV), in January 1968 totaled nearly 500,000 and, by that time, had taken over from the South Vietnamese much of the large-unit war. Army General William C. Westmoreland, who became Commander, USMACV, in June 1964, had presided over the buildup and commitment of U.S. troops to battle. A ramrod-straight West Pointer, and, indeed, former Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, Westmoreland had full responsibility for the conduct of the war in the south and for all U.S. forces based there. He, however, exercised this authority through the U.S. chain of command reaching back to Washington. MACV, itself, was a unified command directly subordinate to the U.S. Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CinCPac), Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp, gave Westmoreland a relatively free hand over ground and air operations in the south, but retained personal direction of the air campaign over most of North Vietnam.4*

The control of U.S. air activity and forces in Southeast Asia was a complicated affair. While General Westmoreland directed the bombing in Route Package 1, the southern sector of North Vietnam above the DMZ, he shared authority with the U.S. Ambassador to Laos for the "Steel Tiger/Tiger Hound" air operations over that country. The Seventh Air Force provided air support for MACV from airfields both in the Republic of Vietnam and from Thailand. The 16,000 Seventh Air Force personnel in South Vietnam came under the operational control of General Westmoreland, while the Thailand units were under U.S. Air Forces, Pacific, which in turn reported to Admiral Sharp. General William W. "Spike" Momyer, the Commanding General, Seventh Air Force, was also the MACV Deputy Commander tor Air and had overall responsibility for the air defense of South Vietnam and

 


*U.S. Air Force Historian Wayne Thompson observed that "Washington often dealt directly with Westmoreland and cut out Sharp." Dr. Wayne Thompson, Air Force History Support Office, Comments on draft chapter, dtd 23Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File)



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