The 25th Division, fighting on the front south of the Nam River where there were few natural defense lines, received 108 of the Fifth Air Force's close-support sorties and used them to withstand a heavy enemy assault. At a press conference on 2 September Maj. Gen. William B. Kean, the 25th's commander, was outspoken in praise of the Fifth Air Force. "The close air support strikes rendered by the Fifth Air Force," Kean told newsmen, "again saved this Division, as they have many times before." General Kean cited one instance in which a company was surrounded on a hill. Mustangs came in to blaze a circle of fire upon the enemy troops, knocking out enough of them to lighten the pressure. Since the company was running short of ammunition it called for airdropped resupply, which was promptly delivered by a 21st Troop Carrier Squadron transport. The company held its position. "I am not just talking," General Kean said, "I have made this a matter of official record." #122
#122 Msg. AX-0198B, CG FEAF to CofS USAF, 3 Sept. 1950; Dept. of Defense, OPI Press Release No. 110-50, 5 Sept. 1950.
A large share of the credit for this outstanding employment of tactical airpower was undoubtedly attributable to the fact that General Kean always took a personal interest in air support. In the September fighting, for example, General Kean had his division TACP up close to the front where the forward air controller could locate, pinpoint, and report enemy targets to the Mosquito controllers.#123
#123 TAPE interview with Lt. Ko S. Samashima, 18 Nov. 1950.
At the Joint Operations Center, more-over, General Kean was known for making no request for air support that was not strictly legitimate. "When the Air Force received a request from the 25th Division," said an officer of the Joint Operations Center, "they pulled a string and gave them everything they could." #124
#124 Barcus Bd. Rpt., appen., bk. 2, pp. 86-87.