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Page 510 (1968: The Defining Year)

Department ot Defense (USMC) Photo A422245

LtGen Henry W. Buse, CGFMFPac, in the foreground,
arrives at the 1st MAW helicopter landing pad for a visit to the wing
headquarters. As it was for Gen Abrams, the question of single manager
was a major priority for the new FMFPac commander.

Marine divisions together and "solve this air business." Fossum admitted
chat he "could not really read General Abrams about the Marine Corps."
General Chaisson, who also rotated at this time, observed that Abrams,
while often critical* of the Marines and publicly supporting the single-management
policy that he inherited, was not as adamant as Westmoreland and "has
it [single manager] up for review."82

In one of his first actions. Lieutenant General Buse made arrangements to visit Vietnam to discuss the situation with General Abrams. On 16 June, the new FMFPac commander met with Abrams in Saigon. Buse described Abrams as "very cordial" and said that the two had a very frank discussion. According to General Buse, he told the MACV commander that he "wasn't down there to critique at what he [Abrams] was doing operationally, nor was I going to tell him what to do operationally." In turn, Abrams replied that he had no particular problems in I Corps, "unless air control could be so considered." Seeing an opportunity, Buse suggested that Abrams end the emergency in I Corps and return control of Marine air to III MAF. The MACV commander, however, was not prepared to take such drastic action. Abrams countered that the "Marines use more air support than anyone," and not only because of their lightness in artillery and helicopter support. Buse explained that "air support is part of our life and that we were structured, trained, and accustomed to use it to maximum benefit." General Buse then asked Abrams directly if he felt as strongly on the subject as General Westmoreland. The MACV commander answered "in a definite and strong negative." In assessing his meeting with Abrams and later that day with General Bruce Palmer, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Vietnam, Buse considered Abrams still open on the subject and that "a tinkle has been heard from the bell ot freedom."83

Fresh from his trip to Vietnam, Lieutenant General Buse reported to
the Commandant on the favorable atmosphere he found in Saigon and the
present situation relative to single management. He observed that from
the MACV perspective there was general satisfaction with the new modified
system and "with the quantity and timeliness of air support." Although
the loss of overall air control authority over fixed-wing sorties for
III MAF still caused several deficiencies, Buse maintained the "Marine
air control system is intact and functioning . . . ." He stated that
the weekly frag procedures caused less ot an administrative burden tor
III MAF in that it did not require specific coordinates. Still the FMFPac
commander related that the only reason that single-manager system still
worked was the

* General Chaisson noted in his diary on 15 May that at dinner, "Abe
[Abrams] took off on Marines, 'loners, small vision, won't play.'" Chaisson
Diary, Jan-Jun68 (Chaisson Papers, Hoover Institute).

Page 510 (1968: The Defining Year)