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By T. M. Young

Airplane layout three (2000) 207 - 215

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During the two Strangle operations, the Fifth Air Force flew ten times as many interdiction as close support sorties, which declined to fewer than 500 a month. After the spring of 1952, Air Force close air support sorties averaged about 2,000 per month, or nearly half the number of interdiction sorties. Moreover, an improved command and control network enabled the Fifth Air Force to respond more quickly to calls for emergency support than it had in the early months of the war. A request from a tactical air control party assigned to a regiment could pass through division and corps headquarters and reach the joint operations center at Seoul in as little as 10 minutes.

Three months of preliminary discussions at Kaesong in North Korea resulted in the establishment of a small demilitarized zone and the beginning of formal truce negotiations in October 1951 at Panmunjom, a village just south of the 38th parallel. When representatives of the two sides first met at Kaesong, perhaps a million men were serving on the Korean peninsula; when the talks finally ended at Panmunjom, that number had doubled, largely the result of Chinese reinforcements and the formation of new South Korean divisions.

Since Ridgway’s Eighth Army was approaching the 38th parallel, Truman hoped to capitalize on the reversal of Chinese fortunes, and possibly forestall an enemy counterthrust, by offering to negotiate an end to the fighting. Learning in advance of the 33 President’s plan, MacArthur torpedoed it, issuing a ringing declaration that in effect invited China to choose between surrender and defeat. On March 24, Truman reminded the general of the directive against public statements on the conduct of the war, but by that time MacArthur had engaged in an even more serious act of insubordination.

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