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MAF, Rosson was an ideal selection.* To further allay Marine suspicions
about the proposed command relations, the MACV commander told Cushman
that he might ask the Marine Corps to provide a major general as deputy
commander for the new Provisional Corps (Prov Corps). While the 3d Marine
Division would still receive close air support from the 1st Marine Aircraft
Wing, the whole question about air control still remained unresolved.39


For the time being, however, III MAF and MACV concentrated on working out the wrinkles for the establishment of the Provisional Corps. On 20 February, General Abrams sent out to the various interested parties a proposed letter of instruction (LOI) for the new command. According to Abrams' proposal, the commander of the new corps would have operational control of all units in the northern two provinces of I Corps with the exception of the Hai Van Pass area of Thua Thien Province. The corps would be similar in organization to the U.S. Field Forces I and II, with the exception that it would operate under the Commanding General, III MAF, General Cushman. Cushman would still remain the Senior Advisor in I Corps and maintain his relationship with the CORDS organization. III MAF would not have operational control of Seventh Air Force units in I Corps. The U.S. Army, Vietnam would provide a headquarters to coordinate logistic support in the two northern provinces. Furthermore, the Prov Corps commander would have the authority to have direct liaison with General Lam, the I Corps commander and with the ARVN forces in his sector.40

In their comments on the proposed directive. General Cushman and Rear
Admiral Kenneth L. Veth, Commander, Naval Forces, Vietnam took exception
to or wanted further elaboration on some of the provisions. Admiral
Verh desired assurances that he remain in the operational chain of command
over the naval forces in I Corps including the Naval Support Activity,
Da Nang and the Seabees. He also assumed that the Navy would retain
the responsibility for common items of supply for all U.S. forces in
I Corps. General Cushman suggested that the tactical situation determine
the boundary between the 1st Marine Division


*At the time. Lieutenant
General Rosson was then Commanding General I Field Force Vietnam. According
to General Westmoreland, Rosson would retain his position as commander
of the I Field Force, so as to retain his third star while serving in
a subordinate position. His deputy would become acting commander ot
the I Field Force command. Westmoreland msg to Abrams, dtd 26Feb6H (EO
Files, Abrams Papers, CMH.)


U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Top, U.S.
Army LtGen William B. Rosson. Provisional (Prov) Corps Commander, is
seen with South Vietnamese Col Quang Toan, the commander of the 2d ARVN
Division. Below, Marine MajGen Raymond G. Davis, a holder of the Medal
of Honor, was made Deputy Commander, Prov Corps. The new command replaced
MACV (Fwd) and was a subordinate command of III MAF. which helped to
smooth relations between the Marines and MACV.

U.S. Marine Corps


 





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