19500708 0000 ap 8 July 1950


Someone obviously had to take over the responsibility, and General Stratemeyer made the first bid for over-all control of air operations in Korea. On 8 July, he told General MacArthur:

It is my understanding that the Navy contemplates bringing into your theater some land-based aircraft; also, as you know, the Seventh Fleet contemplates another strike with air at your direction in North Korea. I request that all land-based naval aviation and carrier-based aviation when operating over North Korea or from Japan, except those units for anti-submarine operations, be placed under my operational control. [06-26]

When the Navy objected to Stratemeyer's acquiring control of naval aircraft for operations in Korea, General Almond, the chief of staff, worked out a compromise in a directive issued in MacArthur's name on 8 July whereby Stratemeyer would control all aircraft "operating in the execution of the Far East Air Force mission as assigned by CINCFE." However, when engaged in naval reconnaissance, antisubmarine warfare, and support of naval tasks such as amphibious assault, naval aircraft were to remain under the operational control of COMNAVFE. [06-27]

U. S. and ROK ground troops needed every bit of close support that could be given them in the first weeks of the Korean fighting. Artillery was at a premium. There were not enough batteries, nor was there enough ammunition. In view of shortages of infantry units and their organic support weapons, the Air Force had to undertake a larger than normal role in ground force support.

Unfortunately, the Far East Air Force had an insufficient number of planes of the most desirable types for supporting ground troops in close contact with the enemy. Lacking, too, were men and facilities for air-ground control and coordination. Drastic measures were taken. Aircraft normally employed in interdiction missions behind enemy lines assumed ground support missions.

The use of B-29 bombers as close-support weapons, to the necessary neglect of other functions behind enemy lines, prompted criticism and serious objections by Air Force officials in the Far East.

[Never mind, the USAF are the ones that designated the B-29 a MEDIUM BOMBER - instead of just calling the B-36 and XL..... Dumb shits.]

But General MacArthur overrode them on the basis that, if the ground troops were overrun, interdiction of targets deep behind enemy lines would have no significance. He ordered Stratemeyer to send his B-29's "to strafe, if necessary" in order to stop the North Korean drive. Within several weeks after the outbreak of the Korean War, the Air Force established the FEAF Bomber Command as a subordinate element of FEAF.

The bomber command consisted of several bombardment groups comprised of medium bombers (B-29's), the aircraft which had been so successful in World War II in the strategic bombing of Japan. In the Air Force concept, this type of bomber should have been employed against strategic targets beyond the area of ground fighting including such installations as factories, rail yards, warehouses, and other vital points on enemy lines of communication.

Nevertheless, because of immediate needs and the lack of other proper aircraft, General MacArthur decided that these medium bombers would operate in support of ground troops wherever necessary. General Stratemeyer had ordered the medium bombers to operate only north of the 38th Parallel. MacArthur overruled him on several occasions in mid-July and ordered the mediums sent against enemy troop concentrations and other tactical targets immediately in front of the Eighth Army lines.