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as responsive as it should be. According to the Marine Commandant,
the "net effect is that ground operations become responsive to air operations
rather than the converse." Chapman recommended, instead, that III MAF
retain mission direction of 70 percent of his available sorties and
would make available to MACV the other 30 percent based on a race of
1.1 sorties per day. Such a solution, according to General Chapman,
permitted III MAF to ensure "the immediate availability of aircraft
for support of troops on the battlefield," while MACV would in effect
still control 30 percent of Marine sorties and able to divert any Marine
air mission when the situation demanded.78

The Commandant's efforts once more to have higher authorities in Washington
reverse single manager by edict from above failed. While Secretary Ignatius
endorsed General Chapman's recommendations to him, Deputy Secretary
of Defense Nirze again refused to dictate air policy to MACV. Using
much the same rationale as he had on 15 May, Nitze stressed that ComUSMACV
was studying the responsiveness of the new procedures established at
die end of May and the secretary was sure that the field commander would
make any changes that were necessary. At the same time, while General
Wheeler, the Chairman, forwarded the Commandant's memorandum to CinCPac
and ComUSMACV, the Joint Chiefs also declined to cake any action on
their own.79

Given Secretary's Nitze's two unfavorable decisions, General Chapman
believed any further exertion on his pan to influence action through
DOD to be self-defeating. Instead, he planned to revert to pressure
from below. As he advised Lieutenant General Henry W. Buse, Jr., his
former chief of staff at HQMC and new Commanding General, Fleet Marine
Force, Pacific, who relieved General Krulak at the end of May, "a move
from Saigon may be our best bet at this time."80

The Continuing Debate

The Commandant's change of course was based in part on the actual
or scheduled reshuffling of the key personalities both at CinCPac and
at MACV. At CinCPac headquarters in Hawaii, in addition to General Buse
replacing General Krulak, Admiral John C. McCain was to take over command
from Admiral Sharp at the end of July. In Saigon, on 15 June, General
Abrams became ComUSMACV in place of General Westmoreland, who returned
to Washington to become the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. Both Generals
Norman Anderson, the commander of the 1st MAW, and also General Momyer,
the commander of the Seventh Air Force, were scheduled for reassignment.
The hope was that with a different cast of commanders in place in strategic
command billets there would be more room for compromise. Both General
Buse, the new FMFPac commander, and General George S. Brown, the new
Seventh Air Force commander, had less prickly personalities than their
predecessors, Lieutenant General Krulak and General Momyer. In his appraisal
of the situation, however. General Chais-son, who also completed his
cour at this time in Saigon, stared that he personally did not believe
that General Momyer's departure would change much, "essentially . .
. [Momyer] was playing an Air Force policy push here, and I don't see
the Air Force falling off on their push."81 While not too
much was known about General Abrams' position, except that he wanted to
ensure adequate fixed-wing air support for Army units in I Corps, Marine
commanders assumed that he was more flexible about the single-manager
issue than Westmoreland. Colonel Edward L. Fossum, the III MAF liaison
officer at MACV, upon his relief, related that the bickering between III
MAF and MACV over air command relations disturbed both Westmoreland and
Abrams. Fossum believed that Abrams' solution might be to reduce Marine
strength in the north and bring the

 

Photo courtesy ot Center ot Military History

Army Gen Creighton W. Abrams, ComUSMACV, right,
talks to MajGen George l. Forsythe, CG, 1st Air Cav Div. Upon his relief
of Gen Westmoreland in June 1968, one of the problems facing Gen Abrams
was the question of single manager.

 







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