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Table l Attack Sorties Planned and Flown by Marine and Air Force Aircraft 30 May-2 Sept 1968


30 May-2 Sept

1968

Percentage of

Type

USAF

USMC

Total

Total Flown

Preplanned

Flown

7,731

9,960

17,691

61

Immediate

Diverts

468

573

1,059

5

Scrambles

1,505

3,235

4,740

16

Add Ons

1,807

3,696

5,503

18

Totals

Flown

11,529

17,464

28,993

Preplanned

Fragged

9,473

11,980

21,453

83


While General Abrams remained firm in his support of single manager as modified in May, the Marine Corps continued the struggle in the following months and years, but in different forums. While the Commandant continued to raise the issue among the Joint Chiefs, only the Navy, since General Westmoreland became the Army Chief of Staff, now supported the Marine position. As General McCutcheon observed to General Quilter, the 1st MAW commander, in November, 1968, 'I am working ... on the philosophy that single management is here, and the way to beat it is to join it and out-manage them."96

Using this tactic, the Marines in a series of local arrangements and working agreements managed to obtain in 1969 and 1970 practical control of their aviation assets. In early 1969, III MAF had succeeded in vetoing an attempt by MACV to modify its air directive 95.4 to include the term 'operational direction' to define the relationship between the Seventh Air Force and III MAF. Finally, in August 1970, Lieutenant General McCutcheon as CG III MAF, agreed to a new MACV air directive that gave 'formal sanction' to the changes that the Marines had succeeded in obtaining from MACV and the Air Force. The Air Force accepted the Marine Corps interpretation of 'mission' and 'operational direction.' Under the new directive, III MAF retained operational control of its aircraft and included a provision permitting the Marine wing to withhold 'specialized Marine support sorties' from the Seventh Air Force. If the Marines obtained much of what they wanted, then as Bernard Nalty, an Air Force historian, asked, 'Why the fuss?' Nalty answered his own question with the conclusion: 'Tactically, the single manager meant nothing. Doctrinally, however, it affirmed a principle, centralized control, that the Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force had consistently championed, and in doing so, it established a precedent for the future."97*


* The new directive defined Mission/Operational Direction as 'The authority
delegated to DepComUSMACV for Air Operations (Cdr, 7th AF) to assign
specific fixed-wing air tasks to the CG, III MAF, on a periodic basis
as implementation of a basic mission assigned by ComUSMACV.' MACV Directive
95.4, dtd 15Aug70 as quoted in Cosmas and Murray, U.S. Marines in
Vietnam, 1970-71
, p. 277. General Chapman summed up the outcome
of the dispute in the following manner: 'l. Marine system essentially
restored-no gain or loss. 2. Army gained close air support from Air
Force equivalent to Marine scope and type-a clear important winner.
5. Air Force lost accordingly.' He emphasized that the precedent applied
'only to joint land operations after the conclusion of [an] amphibious
operation.' Chapman Comments.

 




Page 515 (1968: The Defining Year)