Notes


19500902 0000 SATURDAY

biography   biography

2 SEPTEMBER 1950

T.S. redline, EYES ALONE, Vandenberg to Stratemeyer, received and read 0745 hours:

The operations in Korea are the responsibility of General MacArthur, operating under the directives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I cannot therefore prescribe any limitations or special rules governing your operations in any particular area or in any special situation. However, the directives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and from me are clear and complete as to the necessity of avoiding any violations of the Manchurian or Soviet borders. The probable attack of an F-51 on Manchurian territory as reported by you has had, as you know, the gravest political implications. There must repeat must not be any repetition or appearance of repetition of this incident.[253]


My comment is: The signal does not sound like Van. To me, it is a passing the buck signal and indicates that the crossing of the border by an F-51 was condoned - and that we had not attempted to carry out the directives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Again, I say this does not sound like Vandenberg. It is one of those signals sent purely for the record. Such signals do not help morale. Again, I quote Lincoln: "I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end - if the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything; if the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."


First Lieutenant Thomas C. Langstaff [254] reported on permanent change of station from the 49th Fighter Bomber Group; he will make it possible for Bob Melgard to go on detached service and join the 8th Fighter Bomber Group at Itazuke where I have instructed him to be given the opportunity to fly some 50 or 60 missions. Lt Langstaff has flown 53 F-80C combat missions; he is the nephew of Elise Boyd.[255]

Dispatched to Admiral Joy (info copies to CINCFE and Partridge)

the following letter:

I would like to express my appreciation and admiration for the way Task Group 77.4 was put into battle line support on 1 September 1950. All of us realize the difficulty of making emergency changes in plans and my staff and I am unanimous in our respect for your efficient handling of yesterday's operations. Please convey to your staff and the officers and men of Task Group 77.4 my thanks (and I am sure, General Walker's) for the prompt and aggressive support they gave. Best regards.

In answer to LeMay's letter of 21 Aug in which he raised several questions, following extract is my answer to his letter:

Ref Par. 2. In reply to your first question, I am of the opinion that your training program is very sound and is producing crews capable of doing excellent bombing, both visually and by radar. The crews of your units in this theater have demonstrated outstanding professional skill in bombing operations against industrial targets. Although not trained for bombing attacks against bridges, the crews are gradually mastering the techniques peculiar to such bombing. The results achieved recently have been most gratifying. Low altitude, visual bombing, when it is necessary to perform missions when the cloud deck is low, in my opinion, needs attention. When I say this I realize this is not a normal technique for SAC, but there will always be occasions in war where low altitude, visual bombing will be a requirement should the targets be fruitful. This is not a criticism, Curt, it is merely a suggestion.

Ref Par. 3: Concerning your 2nd question, I think your mobility plan is adequate for the mission for which it was designed, that is, conducting only atomic bombing operations for a period of approx. 1 month. Operations employing conventional bombs as Rosie is now doing require a large amount of base support. Both at Kadena and at Yokota, we are furnishing the equivalent of the wing support provided by your bases in the ZI. In this connection, I might add that we are in a position to furnish better support than you can hope to find in any other part of the world. This fortunate situation is largely attributable to the fact (1) we have the largest AF organization outside the ZI, and (2) we enjoy a highly advantageous priority because of the war and we are not competing with other areas for resources.

Ref Par. 4: Depending upon the world location of bases, various augmentations of your mobility plan in personnel and equipment will very probably be necessary. Because the problem is rather complex, I heartily welcome your proposal to send over a couple of your organizational experts.

Ref Par. 5: Rosie O'Donnell has just returned from a visit to Guam. Heflin returned with him and briefed me and some members of my staff, including Trask. Nevertheless, I am planning to send Trask, as soon as possible, for a visit with Heflin and his organization.

Redline to Vandenberg with info to CINCFE, 5th AF, 20th AF, 13th AF, FEAMCOM, 5th AF in Korea:

Part I. Because of critical conditions in Korea and contemplated offensive operations demanding additional fighter-bomber support, I am decreasing the air defenses of FEC by 4 F-80 sqdrs [squadrons] and supporting elements, and augmenting the offensive effort of the 5th AF in Korea by the same amount. This action places 4 day fighter groups in offensive tactical air operations, and leaves one day and one all-weather fighter group for air defense of Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines.

Part II. Request that a 4 squadron fighter wing be transferred to FEAF to rebuild our air defense capability as expeditiously as possible.


The above radio, re additional squadrons and utilization for air defense of
Japan put in form of directive in a letter to Partridge and Stearley this date.
Drafted a letter to O'Donnell re plans and methods of new techniques in the utilization of B-29s; asked him to come up with some ideas. Sent my draft over to Operations for them to mull over letter before I send it out.
Called General Marquat and pointed out to him that the complete approval, that he concurred in on the employment of Japanese National engineers at FEAMCOM, has been complied with insofar as we are concerned; but it is held up there in his office, by his people, and has been since 23 August. He said he would immediately get on it.


I telephoned Colonel Bunker and asked him to tell the boss that the three B-29 sorties against targets in rear of the battle line had been excellent, and, further, that we would operate 48 B-29s, 3 September, against targets, data for which is being flown to BOMCOM direct from Fifth Air Force.

 

252. Probably Col Clifford J. Heflin, commander of the 9th BG(H).

253. See "History of the JCS," Vol. III, pp 249-263, for a discussion of the border issue from the viewpoint of the JCS.

254. Langstaff flew with the 8th FBS, 49th FBG, before becoming Stratemeyer's junior aide-de-camp.

255. Elise Boyd is unknown.