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Re: Error Condition Re: Re: 1st MarDiv to Korea by back channel
In a message dated 11/1/02 12:49:13 PM Pacific Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
The major argument in the post-WWII unification fight re/the Marine Corps had to do with roles and missions. <<
With all due respect, everything that I've read indicates that roles and missions was a minor aspect of the post-WWII unification fight, so far as the Marines were concerned. And it was of no concern in the initial discussions in the first years of the issue. Vandegrift's Bended Knee speech had nothing to do with roles and missions, but was aimed at maintaining the basic existence of the Marine Corps. After being told that the Marines could no longer make such speeches in Congress, Merritt Edson resigned his commission, and with his dress uniform bedecked with his Medal of Honor, continued to speak for the continuance of the Marine Corps.
In the roles and missions that came out of the Key West Conference, the Marines weren't even mentioned.
The main fight was that which emanated from the glowing press that the Marines got during and after WWI, and the deep resentment felt by virtually all Army officers. It was still boiling after the US got into WWII and in the immediate post war years. And one might say, continues down to today in one form or another in the present day.
Marshall is quoted as saying that his position vis a vis the Marine Corps was to keep it small, very small. He fought against increasing the number of divisions beyond the three, that were either in existence or in the process of being created during 1942 (That included the 1st, 2nd and 3rd MarDivs.) He reluctantly agreed to the formation of the 4th MarDiv and finally gave up his crusade after the creation of the 5th Marine Division, and the 6th MarDiv was almost a fait accompli when its core elements fought on Guam. It's but an indicator about how the senior Army oficers felt about the Corps.
Victor Krulak cites an incident when he, as part of an amphib training group, was invited by the Army to address the 25th Inf Div. prior to its departure for SOPAC. He reported that after the training, the group went in to present their parting respect with its CG, J. Lawton Collins and his staff. Collins chose to speak "on how the Army was resolved to eliminate forever its deficiencies in amphibious matters and its dependency on Marines for amphibious expertise. Another incident occurred in 1943, when Merrill Twining and his brother went to Noumea to visit their brother, Nathan Twining, a general in the USAAF. Collins was there at that time. Merrill reported that all that he heard after dinner was about the "condemnation of the operations of the Navy and Marines at Guadalcanal. He deined the appropriateness of the Marines being there at all and declared that organizational steps were under way to preclude the Marines from further preempting the functions of the other services..
Finally, the McNarney plan for consolidating the services presented to Congress in 1944, argued for a separate Air Force, and a Chief of Staff that bypassed the Sec Def, gave no indication that the Marine Corps even existed. "When questioned on the omission of the Marine Corps, McNarney dismissed it as 'a detail of organization I don't believe I care to comment on.'"
J Lawton Collins, the Army Chief of Staff's plan for the unified services had the Marine Corps indicated under the CNO, much as a Bureau such as BUMED or BUDOCKS.
Heinl's book has almost a page of sentences mostly from Ike and Spaatz about how the Marines were a luxury that was unnecessary in the atomic age. And then there's Bradley's comments, after Congress passed the law keeping the Marine Corps as the nations prime amphibious force, therby guaranting its existence, that Marines are useful to be kept around for sentimentality sake. Then shortly before the Inchon invasion, he, as Chariman of the JCS, stated that amphibious invasions were a thing of the past.
Although the existence of the Marine Corps was guaranteed, Truman and Sec Def Louis Johnson kept reducing the size of the Marine Corps and its support, training and logistics requirementrs. Johnson was heard in a speech in 1949 saying that he had a paper on his desk transferring Marine aviation assets to the USAF. This was reported to Carl Vinson, who summoned Johnson to his office and dictated a statement for Johnson to issue saying that it was never his plan to do such a thing. But Johnson continued his cuts in Marine strength and the tools with which to operate. His plan for FY 1951, starting in July 1950 was to cut battalions back to six and Marine squadrons back to
The significant event that saved the Marine Corps was the outbreak of the Korean War and Cate's message through the CNO to Admiral Joy and MacArthur that they could provide a reinforced regiment with an attached MAG.
As for the Army's official history's observation that the request for a regiment emanated from the top of MacArthur's head, it's a misinformed comment. There wasn't a full strength regiment to be had to be requested. "Frustrated at being excluded from both JCS and Navy Department deliberation during the first week of the war, Cates pressured (CNO Forrest) Sherman, to volunteer the Marines immediately, but the CNO waited until 1 July, the day after Truman decided to commit ground troops to cable MacArthur (through Admiral Joy) that the Marine Corps wanted to send him a reinforced regiment. "
The 5th Marines had to be beefed up by combing through other Marine organizations, and units from all over the United States. "Headquarters sent the 1st Brigade to war without its full complement of tactical units. Each of the 5th Marines three infantry battalions deployed without its third rifle company, and the attached artillery battalion of the 11th Marines lacked two howitzers in each of its three firing batteries. Although blessed wth World War II veterans in both its officer and its NCO ranks, the brigade sailed without further individual training, unit exercises, adequate weapons firing, or physical conditioning."
Roles and missions was the rubric under which the overall unification plans were considered, but for the Marines it was a fight for basic existence as a functioning military force.