Dumas Sucker Punch

by Capt Edward P. Mullen


You are to be the division leader for a mixed flight of two UH-1N Hueys and two AH-1W Cobras conducting aerial interdiction in support of a combined amphibious and heliborne landing. The time is now 1700. L-hour is 0600 tomorrow morning when both the boat and helicopter companies will put “feet ashore.”

Reconnaissance assets report that two ZSU-23-4s have moved onto the Dumas peninsula this afternoon where both companies will insert. The accompanying support structure has been moving ammo to the antiaircraft artillery sites. The enemy is known to have Generation I night, vision devices. No SA-9/13s or reinforcing mechanized infantry have yet crossed the Fajenal Canal onto the peninsula, but they are expected to follow. You are operating off of the LPD of a Marine expeditionary unit in an established fire support area, and the commander, amphibious task force will not exit until 0400.

Forecasted ceilings for tonight are broken at 5,000 feet, wind 045/12. Sunset is 1842; moonset is 2024. Both Cobras are up for TOW; only one is up for Hellfire. Only one Huey has a fully operable Star Safire. No friendlies are ashore and no surface fires are available. The Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) commander’s priority of fires is air defense, indirect fires, command and control, and then mechanized assets. Your task is to destroy the two ZSU-23-4s to facilitate landing the heliborne force.


Within a time limit of 10 minutes, develop an objective area scheme, following offensive air support briefing considerations, that accomplishes the MAGTF commander’s intent. Explain your geometery and weaponeering choices. Provide a sketch of your plan of action and rationale behind it.

Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-11, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134, fax 703-630-9147, or e-mail <gazette@mca-marines.org>.