Air Power and the Ground War in Vietnam : Ideas and Actions by Donald J. Mrozek

By Donald J. Mrozek

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70 . 56 . Donn A . , 1980), 14-15 . t may be improper to say we are at war with the Army . However, we believe that if the Army efforts are successful, they may have a long term adverse effect in the US military posture that could be more important than the battle presently being waged with the Viet Cong . USAF Director of Plans, 1962 You can violate all the rules and regulations ifyou are successful in combat . Maj Gen Delk Oden, USA, 1977 In December 1962, the Air Force director of plans observed that the Army had 199 aircraft in Vietnam while the Air Force had only 61 .

4' Perhaps more significant than statements of theory or doctrine were ideas as they were perceived in action . For example, General Momyer said his understanding of the proper strategy for Vietnam grew from his World War II and Korean experience ; but he actually reiterated traditional Air Force ideas, making them more concrete with historical illustrations . What he had seen in World War II governed his prescriptions for interdiction, air support, and counterair missions in Korea . Similarly, the experience of Korea as he understood it applied directly to Vietnam .

Since formal doctrine suffered because of the brevity of air power's past, technology was thus substituted for history . The views of Gen Nathan F. Twining, acting chief of staff of the Air Force, exemplified this point . He believed that formal doctrine is tied to the past and to historical experience rather than to ongoing technological development : "The Air Force is not bound to any fixed doctrine or concept . "" And Maj Gen Lloyd P . Hopwood, former commandant of the Air Command and Staff College, argued that we try to make our doctrine and strategy conform to glamorous hardware .

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