For Johnnie Walker it was a case of immediate and urgent need. He became "extremely excited" and telephoned Ned Almond to deliver an ultimatum that shook GHQ, Tokyo: "If I lose the 5th Marine Regiment I will not be responsible for the safety of the front." After consulting with MacArthur, Almond called back to say that Walker could use the Marines in combat as was necessary; his control of them was extended beyond September 4.[9-41]
* * *
As Walker had foreseen, the decision to recommit Craig's Marines in the perimeter led to extreme difficulties among Inch'ŏn planners in Tokyo. The Fifth Marines and the First Marines (made up of called up reservists not yet annealed in combat) were to spearhead the assault. The more experienced Fifth Marines were scheduled for the most hazardous missions at Red Beach: the assault on Wŏlmi Island, the seawalls, and the city of Inch'ŏn itself. It would not be prudent or fair to order the First Marines, scheduled to land at the less hazardous Blue Beach, to carry out these Red Beach missions. Furthermore, the other regiment, the Seventh Marines, would not arrive in time to substitute in the assault.
Seeking a possible solution to the problem, Ned Almond suggested that Charles Beauchamp's 32nd Regiment (of the 7th Division), which was scheduled to go ashore behind the Marines, be substituted for Craig's Fifth Marines. The commander of the 1st Marine Division, O. P. Smith, was flabbergasted. The 32nd Infantry had had no amphibious training. It was composed of about 40 percent ROKs raw recruits with no training who could not speak English. "It became apparent to me," Smith noted in his journal, "that there was a complete lack of understanding at GHQ concerning the manner in which amphibious forces are mounted out." He said later that he "bitterly protested" this idea.[9-42]
The Marine objections led to a High Noon meeting between Almond and the Navy-Marine contingent on September 3. Almond opened the meeting by categorically stating that Inch'ŏn would go, as planned, on September 15 and the 32nd Infantry would substitute for the Fifth Marines. A "heated discussion" ensued. Admiral Turner Joy, who "carried the ball," Smith remembered, "really read off General Almond." When asked for his view on substituting the 32nd Infantry in "Red Beach" missions originally assigned to the Fifth Marines, Smith absolutely refused to use the 32nd in the assault. Rather than do that, he would substitute the First Marines at Red Beach and cancel Blue Beach, a modification in the plan that would be "very risky."[9-43]
As the meeting dragged on in acrimonious debate, Admiral Struble suddenly proposed a compromise: Pull the Fifth Marines out of the perimeter after brief use in the Naktong Bulge and send Walker another regiment of the 7th Division the 17th for a reserve. In Struble's proposal, the 17th would remain aboard ship off Pusan and not land except in case of dire emergency. If the situation in the perimeter developed in such a way that Walker could get by without it, the 17th would then be brought around to form the tail end of the Inch'ŏn force.[9-44]