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advanced "much of the philosophy" recommended by Buse several times
to Abrams and "to repeat it once again could be counterproductive."
Moreover, according to Cushman, it Abrams accepted the III MAF proposals,
"I will once again have control of all my air assets . . . ." General
Cushman, nevertheless, expressed his doubts about a positive outcome
tor the Marine position, but that his present tactic was "more saleable
than our past direct approaches."89

As General Cushman predicted, the MACV evaluation, despite the Marine
arguments to the contrary, saw no need to alter the arrangements over
air control in Vietnam. In tact, the author of a Marine Corps Headquarters
memo on the subject wrote that the tenor of General Abrams most recent
comments "seem to indicate the system may have reached a point of equilibrium
unless some additional force is applied." In Washington, Major General
McCutcheon expressed little surprise that General Abrams was relatively
satisfied with the modified single-manager system. As McCutcheon* wrote
to Major General Charles J. Quilter, the new 1st MAW commander who had
relieved General Anderson on 22 June, "it is only us Marines who have
noticed the diminution in effectiveness." McCutcheon even admitted chat
this so-called reduction in effectiveness "isn't very much now since
they [the Air Force] incorporated all our suggested changes." The nub
of the matter was, according to McCutcheon, "we still don't have the
OpCon [operational control]."90


The Commandant and General McCutcheon were in hopes that the selection of Admiral John C. McCain to be the new CinCPac might provide another avenue to challenge single manager in Vietnam. As early as 23 May, just after his nomination for the command, the Marine headquarters staff in Washington briefed the admiral on its perspective of the single-manager dispute. The Marines continued to update McCain from time to time before he took over his new post. As General McCutcheon observed in his letter to Quilter, the new CinCPac would not be able "to jump in ... right away and right the wrong that was done, but I think we have a solid friend in him."91


At the same time in Honolulu, Lieutenant General Buse tried to use his influence with Admiral Sharp to endorse the Marine proposal of giving General Cushman, as CG III MAF, the authority to frag directly the 70 percent of preplanned missions in the weekly frag order. According to Buse, Sharp had completed his own evaluation and basically supported General Cushman's recommended changes. Apparently, the admiral had discussed his recommendations with the new Seventh Air Force commander, General Brown. The Air Force general proposed that Admiral Sharp first clear his revisions with General Wheeler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, before sending them on to General Abrams. General Buse believed that "Sharp will stick to his decision . . . But we now will encounter a day or so delay . .. ." Buse stated that he could see



Unnumbered Defense Department (USMC) photo

MajGen
Charles J. Quilter relieved MajGen Anderson as CG, 1st MAW in June 1968.


* As Deputy Chief of Staff for Air at Headquarters Marine Corps, General
McCutcheon was not in any chain of command relative to the administration
or operations of Marine aviation in Vietnam. While fully aware ol this.
General McCutcheon kept himself fully informed about Marine aviation
matters in the country through an informal correspondence. As he wrote
earlier to General Quilter, he would write "from time to time as l did
Norm {General Anderson] and Ben [Major General Louis B. Robertshaw,
an earlier commander of the 1st MAW] and occasionally yet on the phone
... I think we both understand chat FMFPac is sensitive Co beiny passed
over so in most cases the kind of information that will be passed personally
will be ot such a nature that it will not compromise FMFPac's command
prerogatives." McCutcheon Itr to MajGen Charles J. Quilter, dtd 5Jul68
(Ltr No. 34, File Q, 1968 Correspondence, McCutcheon Papers).







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