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appeared to be working. For the period 3-12 April, the new air control
agencies approved over 90 percent of them and that over 75 percent of
the tactical air support aircraft arrived within 30 minutes of the request
and usually with an acceptable bomb or ordnance load. Contrasting these
figures to those relative to preplanned missions, Krulak contended that
the "Marines were being shortchanged." For the same period in April,
the Seventh Air Force TACC only scheduled 36 percent of the .targets
desired by ground commanders, and of the remaining targets, only 51
percent of the missions scheduled against them were carried out. According
to the FMFPac commander, nearly 41 percent of the total sorties were
extra and not requested by the ground commander, "who could neither
preplan for this surge effort nor influence the selection of the ordnance
available." Krulak then concluded with the observation that 42 percent
of the preplanned sorties carried out were more than 15 minutes late:
"This is unacceptable and compromises the basic principle of integrating
totally all available fire power."48


Perhaps partially influenced by Krulak's message, but largely on their own initiative, III MAF and the 1st MAW had begun the process of evaluating the single-manager process and forwarding their conclusions to higher headquarters. On 22 April, General Cushman sent a preliminary message to General Westmoreland to go on record with his unhappiness with the system. At the same time. Major General Anderson, the wing commander, prepared a lengthy presentation for the III MAF commander with the possibility of giving it later to the MACV commander.49


Anderson stated the usual Marine arguments. After interviewing more than 70 Marine officers involved with the new procedures, he expanded upon his themes with specific case studies. While acknowledging that the Marine divisions by the beginning of April reported that air response to immediate requests had improved, Anderson maintained that even this part of the new system did not work as well as the statistics implied. He cited an air observer who spotted enemy troops "running across a bomb crater one at a time." The observer called the Marine DASC and asked for air strikes, stating that he had a "good target." Before he finished speaking, the DASC provided him with some A-4s. At about the time the A-4s were to reach the designated rendezvous point, the Marine DASC radioed the observer back and stated "they had to take the planes away because the new DASC said they had to go through them to get planes. It was 45 minutes after we asked for the air that we finally got it on target." In another case, Anderson quoted the Marine officer in charge of the Khe Sanh DASC recounting that "there was this Air Force Lieutenant Colonel at Ca Lu who said I had to get airplanes through him, that was very slow. Then there was Colonel Lownds who needed air and needed it bad. I just did what I had to do." General Anderson contended that the only reason there were no more problems with the immediate response procedures was because "people at the lower echelons, finding themselves faced with an unwieldy and unresponsive system, were simply forced to circumvent it."50


Anderson reserved his greatest criticism, however, for the single-manager preplanned missions and their long lead time. The wing commander quoted a battalion forward aircraft controller as saying, "They are telling us now that we have to turn in our CAS [close air support] request this afternoon for the day after tomorrow. We didn't know this morning what we were going to do this afternoon." An infantry battalion commander remarked, "When you are moving, your air has to be flexible, now I have to program myself so far ahead that the air' mission doesn't fix anything." General Anderson contrasted the 80 percent of preplanned targets hit under the former Marine system with the slightly over 50 percent under single manager.51


Finally, the wing commander ended with three general criticisms. According to Anderson, single manager was "far less responsive to our tactical needs, it has small provision for coordination of air with the total effort, and it increases the administrative burden." As an example of the latter, he compared the 50-page frag order coming out of the Seventh Air Force TACC with that of the former nine-page frag order published by the wing. Anderson concluded that the new system accomplished little that the former Marine system did not do better, especially in support of ground Marines.52


In early May, General Cushman forwarded to General Westmoreland in message form many of the concerns that General Anderson had expressed in his formal presentation. Cushman basically stated that his analysis of the period 1-30 April drew him to the following conclusions. While response time may have improved, it occurred only because DASCs had diverted aircraft from preplanned targets. Marines had scrambled some aircraft in certain cases to cover the diverted missions. He again expressed dissatisfaction with the long lead time for preplanned missions. He protested the fact that while the number of Marine air-







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