Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A4221K6
Mannf C/)/ Gilbert J. Davis, a member of the CAP Mobile Training Teaw, t w his tu'o South Vietnamese Popular Force troops. Al ACV pressed III iMAF to form Mobile Assistance Teams to supplement the Combined Action platoons.
Bob we haven't enough people to keep our . . . Marine forces going-we are really people poor." The CORDS chief explained that the CAPs performed well, but the program demanded an "enormous requirement for American infantry which we did not have."79
In any event, on 7 January 1968, Ambassador Komer met with the new Marine Corps Commandant, General Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., who was in Saigon on an information gathering visit. In the meeting, Komer acknowledged that the Combined Action program had value and was proving effective, but that "it was very expensive in manpower . . . [and] is KX) slow a program to accomplish the pacification ends at an early date." He believed that the Marines should reduce the size of their squads in the hamlets to eight-man teams and experiment with more mobile techniques. Komer especially pushed the newly created MACV program ot Mobile Assistance Teams consisting of a five-man team including an ARVN officer, an American officer, and three American veteran combat enlisted men that would move from one Popular Force platoon in a province to another, to teach basic infantry tactics to the Vietnamese militia. General Chapman remained noncommittal, but promised "to monitor the program and insure that the maximum value is gained from the personnel committed."""
From a III MAF perspective, the Marines remained skeptical about the motives of MACV. Although the only true similarity between the MACV Mobile Assistance Teams and that of the CAPs was that they both worked with the Popular Forces, General Westmoreland would later insist that the MACV teams were an adaptation of the CAP concept." In April 1968, to ward off possible Saigon tampering with the program. General Cushman and Lieutenant Colonel Brady eventually established Mobile Training Teams (MTT) in the CAP program. These teams, which consisted of regular Combined Action Marine squads, were assigned to a non-CAP Popular Forces platoon for about a two-week period, and would provide a crash-training course in infantry tactics. The teams would then move on to another such Popular Force platoon in the same province and repeat the process. Brigadier General Earl E. Anderson, the III MAF Chief of Staff, would later state that it was the III MAF belief that Komer wanted to "absorb the CAPs into the RF/PF structure . . . controlled by CORDS," but that General Cushman "resisted this, and he felt that by coming up with some new idea ... he would get more mileage out of the CAP program and forestall any attempt on the part 01 Komer and other people at MACV to destroy the CAP program." Ambassador Komer, nevertheless, would later contend, "I was a big tan of the CAPs.""'
On 30 January 1968, just before Tet, III MAF submitted a revised Table of Organization for the Combined Action Program to reflect the actual command structure. The old tables still retained the authority of the individual battalion and division commanders over the Combined Action Companies. General Cushman objected and declared chat since June 1967, control resided with the respective Combined Action Groups. With the redeployment ot 1st Marine Division infantry battalions to Phu Bai from Da Nang, the situation in both sectors had become fluid. New units in new TAORs were unfamiliar with the Combined Action Marines, and III MAF worried that the CAPs were vulnerable to enemy attack. Cushman wrote in a letter to General Chapman that, because of the need for close coordination and liaison with the South Vietnamese authorities relative to the CAPs, there was a
*ln his comments. Lieutenant General Krulak called the Mobile Assistance Team concept "worthless." Krulak Comments.