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Dan Rush

If it wasn't for carrier aviation; Korea was done.

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I know this is a short posting but I'll add more about it when time permits. I'm currently writing a book about the history of carrier operations and Naval Aviation Strike Warfare from Pearl Harbor to the advent of UAV technology called "ATAKFITRON, The evolution of modern strike warfare"

I divote a large portion of the book to the post World War II period from 1945 to June 25th 1950 and how the Truman administration and the creation of the US Department of Defense led to an appalling decline in Naval Aviation and an over-confidence in the atomic bomb as the "end all war wonder weapon". I'm totally convinced that Harry Truman was a dangerous idiot, if nothing but the worst American president of the modern era who tried to destroy both the US Navy and the Marines and gutted the US military for a false "peace dividend" a repeated act of stupidity by American leadership we've seen after Vietnam, the Cold War and now under Obama.

Had it not been for General MacArthur's confidence in the Naval service in the early months of the Korean War, Korea would have been lost to the Communists. The carriers provided what the Air Force could not in those critical days.....staying power, loitering time, short response and consistent air dominance. What would have happened had the Truman Administration and the "nuclear penial envious" Air Force supporters gotten their way and Navy and Marine Corps aviation had been wiped out by June 25th 1950?

People say a lot of negatives about MacArthur but the US Navy and Marines never had a better or more dependable friend. 

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Keep us posted on the progress of your book, Dan.  As for Truman being our worst president in the modern era, I don't know, I think there is a good amount of competition for that dishonor.  The USAF also suffered from poor planning.  Ditching the P-47 Thunderbolt in favor of the P-51 Mustang after WW II, then deploying the P-51 in the CAS role, something it was never designed to do, but the P-47 could do so well.  Then after the Korean War, the USAF decided in their infinite wisdom that cannons and machine guns on aircraft were useless, all armament would be rockets and missiles.  That might have worked well against massive enemy bomber formations, but in the skies over North Vietnam, where there were no enemy bombers, but very agile MiG's, the missiles proved to not be the perfect A/A weapon.  It's easy for us to look back and analyze the errors, but I'm sure at the time it all made good sense, at least to the planners who were still fighting WW II and Korea.

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Isn't it ironic that the F-8 Crusaider was called "The last gunfighter?"

A little snip from my book....

Plog of VF-51 became the first navy jet pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft (a Yak 9) over Pyongyang. With Harry Truman giving Douglas MacArthur command over all UN forces now engaged over Korea, MacArthur used the two carriers to send a firm message to the Chinese communists as part of his desired “Two front” strategy to control events. He sent the Forge and the Triumph through the Formosa Straits as a little reminder to Mao Tse Tong not to think he could easily take advantage of the Korean situation to mount any invasion plans against the nationalists. At the same time, MacArthur got himself in ever increasing trouble with the timid Harry Truman over his insistence that the Chinese Nationalists under Chang Chi Chek be supplied and permitted to invade the Chinese mainland to open a second front against Communism in Asia. MacArthur wrote an inflammatory letter to the VFW annual convention in 1950 where he stated…

 

“It is a threadbare argument by those who advocate appeasement and defeatism in Asia that if we move against Communist aggression in one sector that we will invite Communist retaliation in another so we must tread carefully; which is like telling a person they should tip toe through a lion’s cage without a gun.”

 

Douglas MacArthur 1950

 

     Now with honest reflection in 2016, no where and at no time did the United States or the West have a better opportunity at hand to destroy Asian communism and in wider effect, disrupt and destroy the spread of Russian Bolshevik communism that would later return to haunt America in Vietnam and now in 2016 where both Communist China and North Korea possess nuclear weapons. Harry Truman’s policy in Asia was first built on ignorance then carried out with blind stupidity. The United States possessed both the capable naval weapons and the capable delivery weapons to destroy both North Korea and the Chinese Communists while sending a clear message to Moscow. By the summer of 1950, US manufacture of deliverable atomic weapons was running at assembly line efficiency from Los Alamos to Sandia National Laboratory while the Russians only had “gadgets” and not a single working nuclear bomb in hand. Stalin by mere luck was able to bluff Truman and his administration into thinking the Soviets had a hundred atomic bombs and the bombers to deliver them when intelligence clearly proved he had nothing. Truman allowed a clear military advantage to evaporate with horrific consequences which continue to this day.

 

     It is worthy to note that no B-36 Peacemaker ever took part in the Korean War because the lumbering behemoth bomber, while able to carry nukes, was abysmal for conventional bombing. The Peacemaker was a big slow moving target for MIG’s, especially the agile MIG 15 jet fighter widely used in the conflict. Truly had it not been for the Carriers, Korea would have been lost. Especially after the disastrous deployment of a so called US Army “Regimental Combat Team” called “Task Force Smith.” Or better yet “Task Force Speed Bump” or “Task Force are you *&%% kidding me?”

 

      Task Force Smith showed the terrifying swiftness in which the United States had allowed the Army to fall apart in the wake of nuclear penis envy as the old World War II weapon equipped, understrength “nubes” who never fired a shot in combat came face to face with the vaunted Russian T-36 tanks of North Korea. The American anti-tank bazookas didn’t even dent the paint; much as the Germans found out when they tried to stop the Russian tanks with their Panzer-Shrikes. The Army Task Force was chewed to shreds much like MacArthur’s ill prepared Philippine command was by the Japanese. Once again the superior thinking Americans got their superior asses kicked.

 

      But while the North Koreans made smooth work of Task Force Smith, they ran into the buzz saw that was the Douglas A-1 Skyraider.. The Skyraider was a flying tank; its bulky blocked airframe and large engine made it a heavy load carrying “bomb truck” that though somewhat slow compared to its Panther brothers, was deadly accurate with a large variant payload and good loitering ability. Ensign Archie DeLong recalled catching a column of ten T-34 tanks twenty miles outside the village of Hanseng and one gutsy North Korean soldier…

 

     “I rolled in for the first attack and strafed the column while firing a barrage of “Mighty Mouse” rockets (5.5” artillery rockets Later called Zuni Rockets in Vietnam) I counted good hits on the first four tanks so I flew around to set up another run and I see this North Korean standing in front of the burning tank line with this bolt action rifle. You can tell how slow I was flying because this guy had enough time to empty the rifle and started chucking rocks at me! I’m pouring bullets all around this man and he’s chucking rocks at me!”

 

       Sixteen years later Commander DeLong would be one of the last Skyraider pilots flying combat missions over the jungles of Vietnam as the AD-1 was replaced by the Gruman A-6 Intruder. Another veteran of World War II still flying in Korea was the F4U Corsair (Nicknamed the “whistling death” by the Japanese for its high speed displacement of air as it screamed overhead during close air support in the Pacific campaign) Lieutenant Samuel Lendry off the USS Philippine Sea in 1951 became the only Corsair pilot to outfly and gun down a MIG-15 jet. As they were in the Pacific Campaign, the Corsair was the God send to the Marines in close air support as they retreated from the Chosen Reservoir in the brutal North Korean winter.

 

       With the defeat of Task Force Smith and the rapidly collapsing situation in the South; Harry Truman realized he had a full blown crisis on hand will a dilapidated military. As it was in the early years of World War II, the Navy was called upon again to shoulder the burden and buy time. Old veteran Jeep carriers which were not completely deactivated were quickly re-crewed to perform their primary mission…get aircraft and manpower to the Far East will all due speed. The light carriers Badoeng Straite and Sicily arrived in Japan on the 22nd of July with the re-stored and armed 1st Marine Air Wing detached to its new home in Iwakuni. It remains there today. Two more Essex class carriers, Boxer and Philippine Sea reported to Okinawa then Yokosuka with 145 P-51 Mustangs, 19 Navy attack planes, 1012 troops and 2,000 tons of military cargo. USS Boxer broke the trans-Pacific crossing record from California in 8 days.

 

Within weeks, USS Sicily went into combat off Korea with the famed “Black Sheep” of World War II as VMF-214 bombed and shot up advancing North Korean Columns threatening to overwhelm ROK Marines south of Osan. Three days later USS Badoeng Straite went into combat with VMF-323, most of the pilots were combat veterans who volunteered to go, the oldest of them was 53 year old retired Marine Major Peter Mayheu who told his doctor back home…”My eyesight’s for crap but my stick trigger finger still works.” Thus began a close relationship between the once discounted “jeeps” and the US Marines that endured to the end of the war. From that relationship was born the modern LPH and LHA assault ships like the USS Wasp which are nicknamed “Jarhead Jeeps”

 

     With the involvement of the United Nations, armies from various nations began to pour into the last line of defense in South Korea through July and into September around the port of Pusan south of the natural defense of the Naktong River. Without question the only reason the Pusan perimeter held was due to the now almost round the clock bombardment offered by carrier aviation, the once “obsolete” method of warfare so declared by the atomic penis envious fools of the Truman administration. Not once during this time were the “gold pocket watches” of the Air Force’s B-36 Peacemakers ever deployed for combat, that job went backwards to the B-29’s and the old reliable B-25/B-24’s of the previous war.

Truman was a disaster for the United States

 

      The lies and fabrications of the last 70 years trying to cover up for the abysmal leadership of Harry S. Truman are appalling. The only good decision Truman ever made as President was the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki but beyond that he was perhaps until Jimmy Carter or Barrack Obama the most dangerous and incompetent President America ever had. Truman bears the soul responsibility for a poor foreign policy with regards to Asia. His timidity allowed Communism to take over China, his over-confidence and ignorance in the Atomic bomb envious foolery pushed by Omar Bradley, Secretary of Defense Johnson and Air Force Chief Hap Arnold allowed the Congress and the pro-Air Force maniacs to cut the defense budget, gut the military and leave the United States totally unprepared for the next war. And against every evidence offered by intelligence, Truman allowed Stalin to snowball him into a “red terror” over a “red bomb” that never existed in operational form. In an effort to “Prevent Word War III”; Truman increased the likelihood of an eventual nuclear conflict in Asia.

 

        Had it not been for the remaining units of the US Navy after the service had been so viciously mauled over by the Secretary Johnson era Department of Defense; Korea would have been lost to the Communist and even today one may consider the obvious fact that for all intense purposes, America lost the Korean War since now we face a powerful nuclear armed China and a dangerously unstable nuclear armed North Korea. Both these menaces could have been destroyed in 1950-1951 if not for the pathetic cowardice and incompetence displayed by Harry Truman.

MacArthur assured the survival of Naval Air Power.

      Many negatives have been written about General Douglas MacArthur’s performance in Korea over the years since his death in 1965; as much blame has also been placed upon him which should be placed on the real culprit for all that went bad from 1950 to 1954. Much can be said of MacArthur but what can not be denied is that he was the best friend the United States Navy and Marines ever had at a time when friends were desperately needed to speak out for them. MacArthur understood the value of robust on-demand Air Power both for tactical defense and strategic denial of the enemies ability to conduct successful warfare, his entire Pacific campaign was focused around strangling enemy strongpoints by cutting off their supply lines and denying them the opportunity for battle engagement. His successful conduct of the amphibious miracle at Inchon in September of 1950 is an excellent study in how a good commander conducts the science of intelligence and preparation as well as deception and covert warfare to prepare for the larger goal of strangling enemy forces. Army General Norman Swartzkopt would repeat this same process in 1991 when he fainted an amphibious landing in Kuwait City against the Iraqi army only to roundhouse them from behind with a massive ground and air invasion of Kuwait through Southern Iraq.

      The Inchon invasion was carried out under an overwhelming lack of confidence by the Truman Administration and the Joint Chief’s of Staff who considered the operation too risky, too dependent on precise timing and prone to great danger from the severe tidal changes in the Inchon River Basin. So much was the distrust of MacArthur that the Joint Chief’s sent “representatives” to MacArthur’s planning briefings; all except for Admiral Forest Sherman who in public ridiculed MacArthur to maintain the operation’s secretive nature. As part of the deception, Sherman leaked to the press that an invasion plan was in the works farther down the South Korean part of the peninsula rather than Inchon.

        The ultimate success however of Inchon was because of the sustainability of the air power assets, by D-Day the available presence of overwhelming naval airpower allowed MacArthur to carry out both a deception operation to the south of Seoul and the massive air bombardment of both Woemedo Island and the port of Inchon itself as well as the main routes of North Korean supplies from and through Poyongyang. The result was a slaughter as the Marines secured critical Woemedo in less than 53 minutes before the tides withdrew that morning. Taking Woemedo and holding the critical cause-way leading to Inchon assured the invasion’s surprising success.

       In his biography of MacArthur “American Cesar” William Manchester described the Generals elation when Marine Corps Commander Lem Shepherd reported the speedy capture of Woemedo…

     “MacArthur rose from his chair on his flagship, the Mount Whitney, and took Shepherd by his shoulders…”This achievement Lem will secure for all time the Marine Corps in the minds of the nation. The Navy and Marines have never failed me and they have never failed their countrymen…God bless you Sir.”

     In his own personal papers and memoirs which are now kept on record at the library of the MacArthur burial tomb and museum in Norfolk, Virginia (Fitting place for this friend of naval air warfare) MacArthur pays various personal tributes to the Naval and Marine Corps Aviation services and their pivotal part in the early days of the Korean War.

 

     “Had the Navy not been at our disposal from June to September 1950 and beyond that desperate hour; the very future of Korea in fact of all Asia would have been in grave danger and in grave doubt. The victory over South Korea by universal Communism at that point in history would have given it a profound influential advancement throughout the world. Never again will the nation take the risk of allowing the condition of its naval forces to deteriorate such as they had before the conflict.”

 

     To be kind however concerning the current state of America’s carrier forces, which is at the same level as it was before the outbreak of Korea in June 1950, the advancements in war fighting technology have actually allowed for some wise reductions in military forces over the past 60 years, for instance we no longer need battleships and as will be explained later in the book; there is no longer a need to go “Downtown for beer and pizza” as there was when B-17’s flew through Germany to drop bombs on places like Raddensburg or A-6, A-7 and F-4 aircraft had to do over heavily SAM defended Hanoi. Yet technology, no matter how advanced, can not alter the basic and absolute need for the aircraft carrier as part of national defense policy. The period between 1945 and June 25th 1950 is a constant warning against those politicians (be they civilians or military officers who’ve allowed personal gains to compromise loyalty to their service or to their country) who advocate the abolition of the aircraft carrier or a “need to clean out the clutter” for so called “peace dividends” or “War ending wonder weapons”. Believing that mankind himself will eliminate warfare is the pipe dream of liberals, fools and maniacs.

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