You are Cpl Smith, USMCR, stationed at Pico Rivera, CA. You are an off-duty police officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. You've spent the morning four wheeling with fellow noncommissioned officer, Cpl Jones. You decide to take a lunch break near an aqueduct that provides about a third of Los Angeles' water supply.

You parked your truck where the jeep trail ends near a power substation (1 hour's drive from the main highway). After trying to check in with your wife (your cell phone did not get a signal), you and Jones decide to hike to some high ground and have lunch. You walk for about 20 minutes to a hill that overlooks the station that pumps water over the mountains to your east.

You remark to Jones as you loosen your boots, "I bet we could have driven most of the way to this hill if we stayed near the water. At least the return is mostly downhill." You rest and eat while calculating how much water must be moving through the station. You remark at the engineering marvel of the aqueduct and the pumping station. "That much water and it looks like only a few guys actually man the site. I wonder if the pumps are monitored remotely?"

As you enjoy the day, two large vans approach the pumping station. They stop at separate locations (shown on the map). With a set of small binoculars you observe six men exiting the second vehicle. On closer inspection you see that they appear to be armed. A minute later you see the men fire an automatic weapon toward an entrance to the pumping station. Dumbfounded, you murmur, "Why did I leave my pistol in the truck?"


In a time limit of 5 minutes explain how you intend to react to this situation. Provide a sketch of your actions and the rationale behind them. Submit your solution to Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #03-9, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22184, fax 708-630-9147, or e-mail <>.