Page 505

Page 505 (1968: The Defining Year)



the subject, General Hutchinson observed that the "report had to be
written with some obvious restraint from [a] 'joint staff standpoint."60

While not directly criticizing the decision for single management,
the report discussed in detail what it considered several shortcomings
in its implementation and operational procedures. Admitting that the
Army units in I Corps received in April more air support than they had
in the past, the report, nevertheless, pointed out that Marine ground
units did not enjoy "as much or as responsive tactical air support"
as under the old system. Like all the other evaluations of single manager,
the report remarked upon the long lead time for preplanned sorties and
the resulting large number of diversions. It observed, moreover, that
the Marine wing met the most urgent "unfragged" requests from Marine
ground units by overflying by 22 percent its aircraft "programmed sortie
rate." At the same time, Air Force aircraft flew only at 96 percent
of their "utilization index." According to the report, the Air Force
wing at Da Nang conducted 1,404 missions over North Vietnam and Laos.
The authors of the report commented that with the availability of Thailand-based
Air Force aircraft and naval carrier aircraft in the Gulf of Tonkin
that "it would not be necessary to use South Vietnam-based aircraft
for this purpose when requests for sorties in ICTZ are not being filled."
As Hutchinson mentioned in his personal letter to General McCutcheon,
"we have pressed the point with Sharp that 7th AF has been flying too
much out of country" with in-country-based aircraft, "thus alluding
to the fact that if this were stopped, MACV should be relieved of his
concern that the Army isn't getting needed support in I Corps."61


For his part. General Krulak, also in Honolulu, continued his efforts to convince Admiral Sharp to intervene in the single-management issue. According to the FMFPac commander, he persuaded Sharp to send a message to Westmoreland again noting that General Cushman remained unhappy with the present working arrangements of the single-manager system. The CinCPac commander stated that he wanted to hear the briefings that were to be presented at MACV headquarters by III MAF, the Seventh Air Force, and Westmoreland's own MACV evaluation team. These were scheduled for 8 May. In his reply, General Westmoreland agreed to have the concerned parties make the same presentations before Admiral Sharp a few days later in Honolulu. He observed, however, that many of the rough spots of the system had been worked out. General Krulak warned the Marine Corps leadership, "Westy is not going to let us get away with a presentation only of our gripes, but will include his own story too."62


At the conference in Saigon at MACV headquarters, both Generals Cushman and Norman Anderson represented III MAF. General Anderson presented the III MAF position on single management. Basically, Anderson argued that the new system for III MAF had few advantages, but several disadvantages. The Seventh Air Force briefer stated that all concerned including the Marines were doing their best to make single manager work and several modifications were in the works.63


After all the presentations, the senior commanders, including both Cushman and Anderson, met in a closed session. According to Cushman, General Westmoreland addressed the group and emphasized that the issue of single management involved Service conflicts revolving about "procedures, tactical arrangements, [differing] philosophies," and the desire of "commanders to allocate total resources in the most effective way." The deployment of the 1st Air Cavalry and 101st Airborne Divisions and the establishment of Provisional Corps headquarters in northern I Corps had irretrievably altered command relations including air arrangements. Westmoreland believed the briefings helped to clarify the points of contention. The MACV commander stated that the trial period for single management demonstrated "that the strong features of the Marine system are evident. The practical advantage of [the] commandwide area of the Air Force system is also evident." Westmoreland stated that he wanted to combine the best features of each: the responsiveness of Marine air together with the Air Force flexibility for concentrating air assets. He declared that the TASE and the Seventh Air Force procedures for fragging aircraft were too cumbersome and Marine practices were wasteful of bombs and aircraft. The MACV commander stated that it was his intention "to use our resources to meet the problem we face not on theory and not by ineffective practices."64


Following a desultory and inconclusive discussion about possible changes, Westmoreland turned to the upcoming briefing at CinCPac. He declared that his chief of staff, Major General Walter T. Kerwin, would represent him and provide the opening statement. III MAF, the Seventh Air Force, and the MACV evaluation team would make separate briefings based from their respective perspectives. General Kerwin, however, would field all questions. The MACV commander concluded the meeting by declaring, "it was fiction







Page 505 (1968: The Defining Year)