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provide you with both fact and fancy if you should decide to go this
route."25


In many respects, the entire question of single manager had passed out of the hands of both the III MAF and Fleet Marine Force Pacific commands to influence. After Admiral Sharp approved the single manager directive, Lieutenant General Krulak advised General Cushman about future actions on the subject. Krulak told the III MAF commander to reassure General Westmoreland "that even a poor decision will have your energetic and unreserved support." At the same time, the FMFPac commander directed that Cushman assemble "an honest record of the Air Force stewardship of our assets." Krulak then mentioned that he put Admiral Sharp "on notice that he could be in for trouble," and that the latter had exceeded his authority in approving the single manager directive.26


In Washington, General Chapman and the HQMC staff had already begun its counterattack. On 4 March, upon learning of Admiral Sharp's decision, the Marine Corps Commandant officially placed the matter before the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a memorandum to the Chairman, General Wheeler, the Commandant protested both the Westmoreland directive and its approval by Admiral Sharp. Chapman argued "irrespective of the various organizational formats and terms of reference, the net effect... is to remove Marine fighter/bomber/reconnaissance assets from being directly responsive to CG III MAF." The Commandant closed with the statement that he could not "concur in such an arrangement" and asked that the Joint Chiefs review the entire subject. Like General Krulak, the Commandant maintained that both General Westmoreland and Admiral Sharp had exceeded their authority relative to Marine air in Vietnam.27


The Marines could expect some assistance in the "joint arena" from at least the Navy. Despite Admiral Sharp's approval of the directive, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, the Chief of Naval Operations, and Vice Admiral John J. Hyland, commander of the Seventh Fleet, both had doubts about the wisdom of the decision. Hyland feared that now that Westmoreland had obtained control over Marine air, that he might want to obtain similar authority over the Navy's carrier aircraft. He also worried about the MACV commander's intentions about Navy and Marine amphibious forces and Navy gunfire ships in Vietnamese waters. Moorer wondered why, if the Air Force was so dedicated to centralized control, it had not placed its B-52 SAC forces under the centralized command. In any event, Moorer remarked that he would support the Marine Corps position with the Joint Chiefs.28


While the single manager controversy never formally went beyond the Department of Defense, General Westmoreland remembered that shortly after the publication of the directive, he received a telephone call from President Johnson. According to the MACV commander, the President asked him bluntly, "Are you screwing the Marines?" Westmoreland claimed he explained the reasons for his decision and the President apparently accepted for the time being his rationale. In his book, the MACV commander wrote that the single manager was the one issue "to prompt me to consider resigning."29*


Although MACV made no public announcement about the new air command relations, the press soon had the news. According to one account, the Air Force released the story. The article included statements from both Marine aviators and ground commanders. One Marine air commander allegedly said, "Why, oh why, did they have to do this to us at this time? . . . [we]are nose deep in problems of fighting the Reds and now we have to take on the Air Force too." The reporter quoted a "mud-spattered" Marine battalion commander declaring, "now we are faced with the tragic aspect of having this Marine air-ground team broken asunder simply because of the ambitions of the Air Force brass." As would be expected, Air Force officers welcomed the change, one saying, "The Marines have different ways of doing things than we do ... some may be better ways, others worse, but now all are under one system with increased efficiency and effectiveness."30

Senior Marine officers speculated about the reasons behind the news
releases and what their reaction should be. According to Lieutenant
General Krulak, Marine commanders should remain silent: "Now that the
word is out, there are others who will take the Air Force to task."
Krulak believed that the "Air Force erred in making a public announcement
which could only be abrasive, and could have no beneficial effect."
Brigadier General E. E. Anderson, the III MAF Chief of Staff, stated
that he had not been able to locate any Air Force announcement. General
Cushman observed that his bet was that there was no public statement:
"Spike [Air Force General Momyer] is not that


* Army historian Graham A. Cosmas noted that by this time, March 1968,
"Westmoreland's resignation was somewhat academic, since his departure
from MACV was announced on the 22d [March 1968]." Dr. Graham A, Cosmas,
Comments on draft, dtd 23Nov94 (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter Cosmas
Comments.







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