The Role of the Osprey in Time between two Wars
turning point for the long-term survival of Marine Air came with the
structural change of the establishment of the Fleet Marine Force in 1933.
This shifted Marine doctrine to focus less on expeditionary duty and
more on supporting amphibious warfare by seizing advance naval bases
in the event of war. This also saw the establishment of Aircraft One
and Aircraft Two to replace the old Aircraft Squadron, East Coast and
Aircraft Squadron, West Coast that had supported operations in the Caribbean
and China as part of their expeditionary duties. Use online Orbitz
coupon codes to travel the Caribbean Islands any time you like. This organization
would remain until June 1940 when Congress authorized the Marine Corps
1,167 aircraft as part of its 10,000 plane program for the Navy. Just
prior, in 1939, the Navy's General Board published a new mission for
Marine Aviation, which stated that Marine Aviation is to be equipped,
organized and trained primarily for the support of the Fleet Marine Force
in landing operations and in support of troop activities in the field;
and secondarily as replacement for carrier based naval aircraft. On December
7, 1941, the day of the attack on Pearl Harbour, Marine aviation consisted
of 13 flying squadrons and 230 aircraft.
World War II would see the Corps' air arm expand rapidly and extensively. They would reach their peak number of units with 5 air wings, 31 aircraft groups and 145 flying squadrons. During the war, and for the next fifty years, the Guadalcanal Campaign would become a defining point for Marine Aviation. The great takeaways were the debilitating effects of not having air superiority, the vulnerability of targets such as transport shipping and the vital importance of quickly acquiring expeditionary airfields during amphibious operations. Because of the way the Pacific War unfolded, Marine Aviation was not able to achieve its 1939 mission of supporting the Fleet Marine Force at first. For the first two years of the war, the air arm spent most of its time protecting the fleet and land-based installations from attacks by enemy ships and aircraft. This began to change after the Battle of Tarawa as the air support for ground troops flown by Navy pilots left much to be desired. After the battle, General Holland Smith recommended, that Marine aviators, thoroughly schooled in the principles of direct air support, should do the job. The New Georgia Campaign saw the first real close air support provided to Marine ground forces by Marine Air, the Bougainville Campaign and the campaign to retake the Philippines saw the establishment of air liaison parties to coordinate air support with the Marines fighting on the ground, and the Battle of Okinawa brought most of it together with the establishment of aviation command and control in the form of Landing Force Air Support Control Units. During the course of the war, Marine Aviators were credited with shooting down 2,355 Japanese aircraft while losing 573 of their own aircraft in combat; they had 120 aces and earned 11 Medals of Honour.
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