“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for All other.”

–Winston Churchill

The same reasoning is true for Joint Command and Control; it is the worst except for all other. Throughout the entire reporting of this incident, Joint Command and Control policies and procedures came to light which may have been outdated and unrealistic. The Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program worldwide has been an extremely fruitful endeavor, and certainly worthy of the risk involved. However, closer coordination among the services might have prevented this incident with relatively little additional expenditure of resources.

The numerous options available for punitive action against North Korea may not have sufficiently taken into account the status of ground units, and their ability to withstand a N.K. counter thrust, without the employment of nuclear weapons or implementation of a massive buildup of U.S. forces. (1) However, the punitive actions that were developed were directed by higher headquarters and were based on the best tactical scheme of maneuver to get the directed missions accomplished. (2) Had a Single Manager for Air been responsible for planning and coordination of the PARPRO and punitive actions, these actions may have been more in keeping with reality of the local situation.

COMUSKOREA seemed to be left in the dark on several plans that were of vital concern to him and his unique position with the ROK. Numerous messages failed to include him as an addressee: a typical example was a CINCPAC planning message {T.S. 240533Z Apr 69) for the jamming of picket ships that were monitoring Task Force 71 off the Korean coast; SAC, PACFLT, PACAF, and JCS were the only addressees. Had the jamming taken place without prior coordination with the ROK, its reaction would have been sufficient to set off the warning which the jamming was to prevent. Another example: On 22 April, CINCPAC requested the 5AF ADVON to start a six-hour situation report. (3) On 23 April, COMUSKOREA had to request he be made an addressee on this vital report. (4) There are 11,000 noncombatants in the Seoul area for which COMUSKOREA has evacuation responsibility under OPlan 27; the ground forces would require a massive logistic buildup. (5) Information necessary for him to make timely preparations may not have been available.

On-going studies of the Command and Control structure of Korean based forces. are being conducted within PACOM which should simplify their management. Coordination between the services could be enhanced by appointment of a Single Manager for Air. Commenting on this, Maj. Gen. Milton B. Adams, Chief of Staff, PACAF, stated: (6)

“…as an alternative to the Air Component Commander Exercising essential, management authority with respect to the In-country air battle, PACAF can concur with the establishment of a Deputy for Air.  However, the functions of the Deputy for Air should be carefully drawn to limit his authority to the in country management problem. The management authority of the Deputy Commander for Air should be clearly inclusive with respect to forces assigned, attached, or supporting the In-country air campaign. Concur with the position of CINCPAC that the Out-country air war (the enemy side of the line of contact or FEBA) be directed by CINCPAC through the appropriate PACOM Service Component Commander (CINCPACAF or CINCPACFLT). Where both forces are jointly involved, recommend that CINCPACAF function as coordinator of the air effort. Responsibility for air defense of land areas should continue in the PACAF chain of command.”

The Foreword to CH~CO report, 11The Pueblo Incident 11 of 15 April 1968, however, remains appropriate:

“Certain facts are evident in close examination of the events as they occurred. First, the increasing tempo of U.S. activities within SEA, and the attendant demand for air assets have materially affected the capability of air units within WESTPAC north to respond to emergencies. Second, command arrangements and related responsibilities appear as complicated today as they did 14 years ago. Finally, the importance of achieving central control and direction of all air assets, which was so laboriously learned during the Korea action 1950-53, has been reemphasized.”


1. Msg, CINCUNC/COMUSKOREA, subj: Effect of Punitive Actions, 171556Z Apr 69.

2. Ltr, PACAF, DOPLNN, subj: Report Coordination, 2 Aug 69.

3. Msg, CINCPAC, subj: Situation Report, 222101Z Apr 69.

4. Msg, CINCUNC/COMUSKOREA, subj: 5AF ADVON Situation Report, 230230Z Apr 69.

5. Msg, CINCUNC/COMUSKOREA, subj: Effect of Punitive Actions, 171556Z Apr 69.

6. Msg, PACAF, Chief of Staff, l32252Z Jun 69


Acft                             Aircraft

AD                              Air Defense

ADVON                      Advance Echelon

AG                              Air to Ground

ANG                           Air National Guard

BARCAP                   Barrier Combat Air Patrol

CAP                            Combat Air Patrol

ChiCom                     Chinese Communist

CINCPAC                  Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command

CINCFACAF             Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces

CINCAPCFL             Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet

CINCUNC                 Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command

COMUSKOREA       Commander, United States Forces in Korea

CONUS                      Continental United States

Convl                          Conventional

DMZ                           Demilitarized Zone

DOCS                        Directorate of Systems

DOPL                         Directorate of Operations Plans

ECM                           Electronic Countermeasure

ELINT                         Electronic Intelligence

FEBA                          Forward Edge of Battle Area

FIS                              Fighter Interceptor Squadron

Ftr                               Fighter

CGI                             Ground-Controlled Intercept

JASDF                       Japan Air Self Defense Force

JCS                            Joint Chiefs of Staff

MF                              Medium Frequency

Min                              Minute

Msn                            Mission

NKAF                         North Korean Air Force

N.K.                            North Korea

NM                              Nautical Mile

Nuc                             Nuclear

OpCon                       Operational Control

OPlan                         Operations Plan

OPORD                     Operations Order


PACAF                       Pacific Air Forces

PACFLT                     Pacific Fleet

PACOM                     Pacific Command

PARPRO                   Peacetime Aerial

Recon                        Reconnaissance

ROE                           Rules of Engagement

ROK                           Republic of Korea

ROKA                         Republic of Korea Army

ROKAF                      Republic of Korea Air Force

ROKG                        Republic of Korea Government

SAC                            Strategic Air Command I. SAR Search and Rescue

SEA                            Southeast Asia

SIOP                          Single Integrated Operations Plan

S. K.                           South Korea

SOJ                            Sea of Japan

SVN                            South Vietnam

TF                               Task Force

TFS                            Tactical Fighter Squadron

TFW                           Tactical Fighter Wing

TOT                            Time over Target

USAK                         United States Army Korea

USARPAC                United States Army Pacific

USMC                        United States Marine Corps

USSR                         Union of Soviet Socialist Republics