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On 5 April 1968, Marine assistant wing commander, Brigadier General
Henry W. Hise,* contrasted the difference between Marine responsiveness
and that of the Air Force. According to Hise, the Air Force achieved
"rapid response and flexibility by diverting sorties." He observed,
however, that the air commander often did not consult the ground commander,
"for whom the aircraft were originally scheduled . . . ." The Marine
general called this depriving "one ground unit of vital support to aid
another." He also declared this often resulted in an improper mix of
ordnance to accomplish the mission. In comparison, the Marine system
also permitted the diversion of airborne aircraft but only after receiving
the acquiescence of the ground unit commander. For the most part. Marine
aviation responded "to increased requirements by scrambles off the hot
pad." According to Hise, the Marines had "the responsiveness of diverts
without depriving a ground commander of possibly crucial support and
. . . [provided] additional sorties over normal schedules to meet unforeseen
needs." Furthermore, General Hise pointed out Marine aircraft on the
"hot pad" could be fitted out with the proper ordnance to accomplish
the mission.42


III MAF was not the only command unhappy with the progress of the single-manager system. On 5 April, Army Major General Willard Pearson, the Deputy Commander of Provisional Corps, indicated to General Anderson that the new system was not working well in the northern two provinces of I Corps. In response on this date as well to General Cushman's complaints about the workings of the system, General Westmoreland acknowledged that single manager was undergoing "technical and procedural difficulties . . . ." He understood, however, things were improving. The MACV commander observed that from his perspective that there was "not enough tactical air capability in the RVN to provide all commanders all the air support they would like to have." He concluded his message that he expected to receive from the III MAF commander an evaluation of the system at the end of the month as to whether single manager was meeting III MAF requirements and if the "I DASC operation falls short in any respect."43


In Washington, on 5 April, the full Joint Chiefs of Staff again took up the single-management issue, this time with both the Chairman, General Wheeler, and the Army Chief of Staff, General Johnson, in attendance. At the meeting, much to the surprise and delight of the Marine Corps, General Johnson reversed the Army position and supported the Marines. In the final vote, only General Wheeler and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General McConnell, favored single manager. At a second session of the JCS three days later, General McCutcheon, who attended both meetings, related that General Wheeler attempted "to float" a compromise position indicating that the Seventh Air Force operational control of Marine fixed-wing sorties was a "temporary expedient and when the emergency was over the status quo would be resumed." General Chapman argued if that were the case the emergency was over and that the Marines should resume control of their assets. Wheeler rejected that proposition. According to McCutcheon, "so as at the moment the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are lined up against the Air Force and the Chairman has weakened the position to the temporary gimmick." The next step was to send the matter up to the Secretary of Defense. McCutcheon concluded: "I feel better about it [single-manager dispute] than I have in a long time."44


In Washington, General Chapman decided to outline formally the Marine Corps position on single manager and its status to senior Marine commanders. In a "green letter" (so named because of the color of the paper) to all Marine general officers, the Commandant reviewed the initiation of the single-manager system over the protests of all Marine commands and his actions in the JCS. He declared there was an "essential difference between the Marine and Air Force concepts of air control and air support . . . ." Chapman emphasized in most strong terms that for Marines, air is "a supporting arm" which was to be employed "directly responsive to the ground commander . . . ." He believed this basic Marine concept had been set aside and would result in "increased enemy success, increased friendly casualties, and decreased advancement of the war effort." The Commandant viewed that the "integrity" of the Marine air-ground team and "even our force structure" was at stake. While asking all Marine officers to "face this challenge resolutely to forestall any future inroads" on the Corps, he ordered them not to comment on the subject, "either officially or unofficially," and to refer all queries especially from the press to Headquarters, Marine Corps. With the JCS split on the subject and the possible requirement of a Secretary of Defense decision to settle the matter, Chapman mentioned, "we're preparing for that eventuality now."45

* Brigadier General Hise, one of the two assistant wing commanders,
stated that because of his previous experience on the Joint Staff of
the JCS, General Anderson, the wing commander, used him to argue the
Marine case in the single manager dispute. Hise Comments.








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