Unnumbered Defense Department (USMC) photo
Adm John C. McCain, CinCPac (seated with cigar
in his mouth), visits Marine Fire Support Base Lance in Operation Taylor
Common. LtGen Cushman is seated just behind and to the right of Adm
McCain. Both Gen Quilter and Adm McCain also had to wrestle with the
single manager issue.
"no impact on anyone in Washington, if Sharp makes this decision with exception" of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.92
With Sharp leaving his command, however, it was obvious that his recommendations would only have validity it they were endorsed by his successor. Obviously, the Marines believed that the chances were good that Admiral McCain would do so. Marine Brigadier General Hutchinson, the CinCPac J-3, wrote to General McCutcheon that "we had McCain as near fully locked in on a decision to return about 70 percent of our fixed-wing assets to Marine control as it was possible to be short ot having the decision signed off."93
Again the Marine aspirations were to lead to frustration. Aher assuming
command, in August, Admiral McCain together with Lieutenant General
Buse visited General Abrams in Saigon. Their visit also coincided with
one by General Chapman to Vietnam. General Hutchinson related that McCain
had "withheld his final decision for the obvious protocol reasons ot
being able to say he had discussed the subject directly with Abe." In
the meeting over single management that included the two Marine generals
as well as McCain and Abrams, General Abrams apparently was willing
to modify single manager in return ror an alteration of command relations
in I Corps. The Marine generals, at that point, decided not to push
the issue. According to Brigadier General Hutchinson, this course of
action made "it impossible for McCain to do anything but go along."
Hurchinson stared that the admiral was not yet "in writing, but I would
guess that after he sees Chapman . . . the issue will be closed out."
In General Chapman's version. Admiral McCain, a close personal friend,
told him, "that he was new on the scene, that such an order was vehemently
opposed by his principal commander in the field . . . and that he just
didn't feel persuaded that it was a good idea and that he ought to do
it, and he never did."
Through the rest of 1968, the Marines would continue to bring up the single-manager issue, but with