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moreland declared that these instructions "will be reviewed within
thirty days to determine those technical and organizational changes
which may prove necessary as a result of experience in this single management
system."20


Despite the decision and the issuance of the order on single manager, there were still several rough edges to its implementation. Major General Anderson observed that III MAF did not receive a copy of the directive until 9 March and then only through the personal intervention of General Abrams, who was still at Phu Bai. On the morning of the 9th as well. III MAF received from the Seventh Air Force interim instructions for procedures relative to Marine fixed-wing strike sorties and the incorporation of these sorties into the Seventh Air Force daily "frag" or fragmentary order. According to the Marine wing commander, the Air Force wanted specific information on number of Marine aircraft, flight schedules, and sortie rates. At this point, the Marine fighter and fighter/attack aircraft remained exempt from the Air Force frag, but "were told to continue our operations and cross-tell with I DASC who in turn would keep the TACC informed."21


General Anderson, the wing commander, was especially unhappy about the employment of the Marine photo reconnaissance and electronic warfare aircraft of VMCJ-1. According to Anderson, the Air Force ignored the radar and electronic capability of the squadron but informed the Marine wing that it planned to reevaluate current photo reconnaissance missions. Future requests for planned photo missions were to go to the III MAF G-2 (Intelligence) (Air) section and then forwarded to the Seventh Air Force TACC. The TACC would then publish the missions and sorties in the frag order it issued to the wing. General Anderson related that the wing then reported daily by phone and by followup message the activities of the squadron. When the photo aircraft were airborne, they came under the control of the particular DASC in the target area. The MACV TASE had the authority to divert any of the aircraft from any of the DASCs.22*

On 11 March, the Seventh Air Force I DASC at I Corps headquarters
and DASC Victor at Phu Bai announced that they were now functioning
under the new system and had assumed control of air operations. I DASC
stated that its mission was "to furnish more equitably distributed air
support throughout I Corps." Major General Anderson, the wing commander
remarked caustically that DASC Victor was more "modest." It merely stated
that it had assumed "control for PCV [Provisional Corps Vietnam] area."
On the 11th and the 16th, General Anderson met with the director of
the Seventh Air Force TACC to discuss the eventual location of I DASC
and the phasing in of the Marine Corps system with that of the Air Force.
General Anderson wanted to collocate the I DASC with the 1st MAW Tactical
Air Direction Center (TADC) in the wing compound and recommended a three-stage
implementation. The first stage would consist of improving the information
exchange between the TADC and I DASC so that the latter could transmit
the necessary data back to Saigon. In the second stage, the U.S. sector
of I DASC would be located in the 1st MAW G-3 building and then in the
final stage would be the collocation of I DASC with the III MAF DASC
and 1st MAW TADC. The Air Force agreed to the first two phases as a
temporary measure, but recommended that the permanent location of the
III MAF and I


*Colonel Robert W. Lewis, who as a lieutenant colonel commanded VMCJ-1
until mid March, remembered that he was "in the middle of the air control
furor." He recalled that "in early March we started to get our photo
recon (askings from Saigon. That meant that a Marine battalion commander
who wanted imagery to his front had to wait 2-3 days for a response.
When there was a hot operation on we carried the 7th Air Force missions
with us in the airplane along with those slipped under the table to
us by our intelligence} briefers. Usually we had time to complete most
of the Saigon missions. I, or one of my more experienced pilots, flew
the 'weather hop' at first light every morning and it was a simple matter
to call back to Da Nang and tell them to brief and launch the subsequent
photo missions at the Marine hot spots, where we had observed the weather
to be suitable for good picture taking." Lewis wrote that the Seventh
Air Force TACC "did not understand that immediate photos were required
if effective CAS (close air support] was to happen." According to Colonel
Lewis, "during the early days of the battle for Khe Sanh we would make
a low level run on the airfield perimeter and approaches once an hour,
have the film to our photo interpreters 20 minutes later, and immediately
advise the 26th Marines Intel, section what the threat had been 30 minutes
before. You can't do that with 2-day tasking." He stated that the squadron
tried to make the system work "to the benefit of our Marines on the
ground. During those periods when enemy contact was light we would aggressively
execute the Saigon photo plan-it did have a strategic, theater intelligence
benefit. However, when Marines were in heavy contact anywhere in I Corps
TAOR they got all they requested from us. Often we would arrange for
a courier helicopter to drop by Da Nang, pick up negatives which were
exposed 20 minutes before and deliver them to III MAF intel. We didn't,
however have to rely on III MAF to pass intel. to the ground units.
We had photo interpreters assigned to VMCJ-1 and they would read wet
negatives shortly after the RF-4B landed. Hot items would then be passed
directly to the unit involved (in some cases). We would then deliver
all the imagery to III MAF for further delivery to intelligence units
in RVN, Hawaii and ConUS. What they ever did with all those pictures
we never knew. No I Corps ground units ever saw them." Col Robert W.
Lewis, Comments on draft, n.d. [Dec94] (Vietnam Comment File).







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