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expected the Marines to take the initiative while the wing commander
believed that the Army division should have taken the first steps to
ensure that it was in the Marine air radio net.5*

Despite General Westmoreland's later contention that it was the dispute
over the air support to the 1st Air Cavalry Division that caused him
to go ahead with the single manager issue, it would appear that it was
only one of many contributing factors. The discussion over air support
to the 1st Cavalry occurred over a two-or three-week span at a series
of meetings where it was only one of several topics.** General Norman
Anderson believed that it became a matter of concern sometime before
Tet, but was not sure exactly when. On 28 January, Marine Brigadier
General John R. Chaisson, the director of the MACV combat operations
center, wrote home to his wife relative to deteriorating relations between
III MAF and MACV. He mentioned that "Westy [Westmoreland] is a bit jumpy
and is up to some major moves which [would] have an adverse impact on
U.S. Marines." Chaisson claimed that he "worked on him [Westmoreland]
considerably and got him to give a little, but not entirely." While
aviation support may have been one of the disputed areas, the Marine
brigadier made no reference to the 1st Air Cavalry Division and implied
that his concern was over the general tenor of the MACV and III MAF
relationship. In his own general entry in his historical summaries for
this period, General Westmoreland made little reference to air control,
but wrote of the limitations of the III MAF staff to handle the number
of divisions in I Corps and the necessity of establishing the MACV Forward
Headquarters. Finally, in his book, the MACV commander implied that
it was the meeting on 7 February with General Cushman that resulted
in his final disillusionment with the Marine command and forced his
hand on single management.6


While Westmoreland s accounts of the 7 February meeting deal largely with his unhappiness concerning the fall of Lang Vei and the slowness of the Marine command at Da Nang to react to the NVA threat to Da Nang,*** the subject of air control must also have been a factor. Up to this point, at least at the III MAF and 1st Wing level, neither General Cushman nor General Anderson appeared to worry about the air control situation. Indeed, on 7 February, General Anderson wrote to Major General Keith B. McCutcheon in Washington that the "heat . . . [was] temporarily off" that subject. Less than a week later, however, Anderson informed McCutcheon that he had been "too optimistic" relative to the Seventh Air Force. According to


* Lieutenant General Richard E. Carey, who as a lieutenant colonel
served on the 1st MAW staff in 1968, commented, "The major problem was
that the Army divisions were not tied into our air control system and
thus could not, by normally accepted means, submit requests for pre-planned
missions. Of course the problem was one of communications. We did not
have sufficient organic communications to provide them with communications
capability. Our Wing was already supporting two Marine Divisions. Granted
over time we had significantly augmented our communications capability
to support our Divisions, but we were already stretched very thin with
all the widespread communications supporting our Marines. I do recall
however that the Comm O was directed to find a way." LtGen Richard E.
Carey, Comments on draft, dtd 12Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter
Carey Comments. Colonel David S. Twining, who in January and February
1968 commanded the MASS-2 detachment at the Dong Ha DASC, recalled an
investigation that he conducted concerning "a 'bad' TPQ-10 drop" in
support of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. An Air Cavalry battalion had
made a request for air support which had been "passed up to the 1st
Air Cav TOC [Tactical Operations Center}." This agency had forwarded
rhe request through the Seventh Air Force headquarters who then passed
it to the Air Force Airborne DASC. There were no Air Force aircraft
available and the request ended up at the Marine Corps Dong Ha DASC.
Twining stated the "elapsed time was 72 hours and the initiating battalion
had considered the request 'overtaken by events.'" The Dong Ha DASC,
however, was not aware of this and sent the request to the collocated
3d Marine Division FSCC for clearance. The Marine FSCC observing that
the target was in the "1st Air Cav area of responsibility, . . . called
the Air Cav Division TOC for verification. This was given and the target
cleared." The DASC assigned the TPQ-10 mission to a flight of Navy A-4s
who struck the target about 30 minutes later. By this time the Army
Air Cavalry battalion had "physically occupied" the target area. According
to Twining, it was fortunate that "only unmanned helicopters were on
the target when the bombs were dropped and no personnel were injured."
Colonel Twining discovered in the course of his investigation at "Camp
Evans that targets, air support requests and troop dispositions were
not centralized at the senior TOC but rather at the battalion level.
The air support coordination element was expected to query the supported
battalion directly for clearance. The Army maintained a special net
for this purpose but this was not known to the Marine Corps FSCC." Twining
recommended that the FSCC should first check directly with requesting
Army units down to battalion level and nor clear any target area "for
which the FSCC lacked direct and current information on friendly troops
dispositions . . . ." His recommendations were not implemented. Col
David S. Twining, Comments on draft, dtd 15Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File).

** In his interview with Marine Corps historians, General Westmoreland
insisted that the difficulty with air support related to the 101st Airborne
Division. This apparently was incorrect as the headquarters of the 101st
did not arrive in I Corps until the beginning of March. Major General
Anderson is adamant that he had no problems with the 101st Division
and moreover in his book, General Westmoreland mentions only the 1st
Air Cavalry relative to this matter. Westmoreland intvw, 1983, p. 42;
Westmoreland, A Soldier Reports, pp. 342-3; N. Anderson intvw,
8Sep83; Anderson intvw, 3d Session, 17Mar81,pp. 192, 194-95.

*** See Chapters 8 and 14 relative to the 7 February meeting.







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