Defend the Airfield, Part I

By Carl F. Kusch


Beginning with the fall of communism in the early 1990s, the past several years have witnessed tremendous changes throughout the world. You find yourself the commanding officer of the 1st Special Infantry Company in a provisional rifle battalion that has been formed recently and deployed (without major attachments) on a deployment for training to Dull Garrison Island in the northern region of the Indian Ocean. In part, the deployment maintains presence and replaces the more expensive regular deployment of amphibious forces. It also provides familiarization and training for potential leaders of the local defense force forming on the island.

Even before international sanctions had been lifted, the Southwest Asian nation of BAD had been secretly rebuilding its military arsenal with the intent of avenging the embarrassment suffered at the hands of the United States in 1990-91 and of accomplishing its original objectives of that period, but this time BAD has determined to do it right.

You have been following the message traffic, which states that BAD has invaded its neighbor (the peace-loving nation of GOOD) and the 26th MEU with BLT 2/8 and a carrier battle group has been dispatched to the area.

You are now being told that BAD has the capability to stage limited amphibious and helicopterborne assaults using its elite Guards battalions. Furthermore, it is believed that BAD is planning an assault on the relatively large island of Dull Garrison in an effort to forestall any American effort to redevelop this island as a marshalling area. Faced with this threat, your provisional battalion is directed to deploy throughout the island and attempt to provide security until reinforcements arrive.

Your company is currently located on the southeast coast of the island in the vicinity of one of the island’s three small airfields/landing strips. Your mission is to defend the airfield so that additional forces may be introduced for the island’s defense. You have been assigned one squad each of heavy machineguns and Dragons from weapons company. Your only indirect fire support comes from the battalion’s organic 81mm mortars. Currently, both the carrier battle group as well as the amphibious task force are too far away to provide any support.

Approximately 2 kilometers northeast of the airfield is the mouth of North River, the only suitable landing beach in the immediate vicinity. North River itself is extremely shallow and often dry in this arid land. You are ordered to ensure that your deployment will in no way endanger the lives or property of the good citizens living in the area.


In a time limit of five minutes, deploy your company. Include an overlay sketch and provide a brief discussion of the rationale behind your actions. Submit your solutions to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #92-3, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish the author’s and other solutions in the June 1992 issue.