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The Marines still considered the single-management system, even with
the changes, more cumbersome than necessary. Lieutenant Colonel Richard
E. Carey in the Wing G-3 section later commented that while the 70-30
split "gave us more flexibility at the working level, matching available
sorties to the requests of the units was time consuming, confusing,
and error prone." He stated his staff "affectionately termed the system,
'Momyer's Chinese Fire Drill.'" In more earthy terms, General Anderson,
the wing commander, described the entire procedure "an ass-backwards
system." General Cushman concluded that "until Marine air assets are
returned to full opcon of CG III MAF, command relationships will remain
more complex."74


At the same time MACV was altering single manager, General Chapman and the Marine headquarters staff in Washington proposed their own modification to the air arrangements in South Vietnam. In mid-May, the Commandant circulated for comment to both Generals Krulak and Cushman a headquarters point paper on the subject. The idea was for MACV formally to return to III MAF operational control 70 percent of Marine fixed-wing assets, while retaining sortie control of the remaining 30 percent. General Chapman planned to give the point paper to the Secretary of the Navy to forward to the Secretary of Defense.75


While both Generals Cushman and Krulak had some reservations about some of the details contained in the point paper, they saw merit in the Commandant's course of action. General Cushman wanted return of 100 percent of the air assets to his control, remarking that the retention of the 30 percent by MACV would result in a "duplicative air request, control, and direction system." He, nevertheless, believed that the CMC proposal could be the basis for a further compromise on the single-management issue. While agreeing with Cushman and also taking exception to a few added minor details in the Commandant's proposal, Lieutenant General Krulak's reply was more positive. Krulak believed that the Marine headquarters recommended modification to the air control system "gets the camel's nose back into the tent-most advantageous, since the tent happens to be our own." The FMFPac commander then observed that he had not mentioned any of this to Admiral Sharp as he was of the opinion that "the impetus just has to come from the top down." Krulak stated that if Chapman wanted, he, Krulak, would "take him [Sharp] on immediately . . . but my recommendation is to give him a few thousand volts from above first."76

Incorporating many of the suggestions provided by both III MAF and
FMFPac, General Chapman proceeded on two fronts to revise the air control
policy in Vietnam. He met with the Secretary of the Navy and provided
him the point paper and at the same time prepared a memorandum for the
Joint Chiefs making the same points. As Chapman's chief air officer,
General McCutcheon wrote, "at first blush this [the Marine recommendations]
looks similar to the ComUSMACV proposal where 70 percent of the missions
would be fragged on a weekly basis," but insisted "there are some vital
differences." The basic difference, of course, would be that the Marine
proposal would do away with the long weekly frag with its predetermined
times on target and ordnance loads. In fact, McCutcheon, like both Cushman
and Krulak, opposed any mention of 70 percent and favored "a 100 percent
recapture" of Marine sorties.77


In his presentation to Secretary of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius, General Chapman argued his case. He provided Secretary Ignatius the statistical rationale for the Marine strong emphasis on fixed-wing support for its ground forces.* While appreciating the need for ComUSMACV, whether General Westmoreland or General Abrams, to have some form of "single manager" over tactical air, Chapman stressed that even the new MACV modification had not made the air support


* The level of air support required for Marine and Army divisions differed
because of many factors. According to an analysis by FMFPac, a Marine
division in Vietnam consisted of approximately 20,736 and an Army division
of 17,116 men. [For further discussion of Marine division strength see
Chapter 27 and Appendices of Marine T/Os.} The Marine wing supported
the Marine division with 276 transport helicopters, 60 armed observation
helicopters, and 159 fixed-wing attack aircraft. The Army division on
the other hand contained 479 transport helicopters and 184 authorized
gunships, and required 132 fixed-wing aircraft in support at a 1.1 sortie
rate. Citing DOD SE Asia air planning criteria, FMFPac analysts figured
that the 159 Marine aircraft were to provide each Marine battalion with
200 fixed-wing sorties per month. This came out to six sorties per battalion
per day or 160 daily sorties to support the Marine units in I Corps.
These were about one-third more sorties than the Air Force programmed
for fixed-wing support of Army divisions. According to FMFPac, the Air
Force was to provide the Army four fixed-wing sorties per battalion
per day or 150 sorties per battalion monthly. The resulting difference
in the fixed-wing support between the Army and Marine divisions was
based on the following: the Marine battalion was about a third larger
than that of the Army; the Marine division had about 20 percent less
artillery support; and the Marines had fewer armed helicopters. CGFMFPac
msg to CMC, dtd 30May68, HQMC Msgs, Mar-Jun68. In his comments, General
Norman Anderson made the additional point that the 1st MAW supported
two Marine Divisions and also Army and allied units when required. MajGen
Norman J. Anderson, Comments on draft, n.d. [Jan95] (Vietnam Comment
File).







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