Skirmish at Pheoville


You are a UH-1N pilot conducting a routine visual reconnaissance mission when the direct air support center (DASC) diverts you to act as an airborne forward air controller, or FAC(A). Your new mission is to support a Marine squad patrol pinned down in an irrigation ditch south of Pheoville, an abandoned village made of wooden structures. The DASC is also diverting fixed-wing close air support (CAS) for your control and passes a call sign and frequency for an artillery battery that is to provide direct support.

You approach the area to the west of Hill 166 and immediately come under small arms fire from a tree line north of the hill. Your door gunner suppresses the fire, and you reposition yourself to the east of Hill 166, where you have a good vantage point overlooking the area. You contact the squad by radio. The squad leader reports he has had no communication since the initial call for help. He indicates the squad is taking fire from Pheoville and the tree line to the west. Due to the intensity of the fire, the squad cannot break contact and is pinned down in the elbow of the ditch just south of Pheoville. The squad leader reports he needs to get to a landing zone to evacuate two wounded Marines. Although the volume of fires from the west is heavier, the squad leader reports the fires from Pheoville are having more effect and if that target is suppressed the squad should be able to break contact.

Your copilot has been busy identifying targets with a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system. He has identified two BTR-152s, one ZU-23, and at least a squad in Pheoville. On the north side of the western wood, he has identified a bunker that seems to contain a heavy machinegun-possibly a 14.5mm. He also estimates at least a squad in trenches around the bunker. [The location of the inital points (IPs), and the bearing to the three known enemy targets-Phoeville, the bunker position, and the southern troops-are shown on the sketch.] Your wingman lets you know he has contacted Alpha Battery and the battalion air officer for initial liaison. The former reports a maximum ordinate of 5,000 feet. The latter reports no other friendlies in the area. You are given terminal control responsibility.

A section of AV-8Bs and a section of F/A-18s check in on the assigned tactical air direction (TAD) net. The Harriers are carrying four Mk 77 fire bombs each. The Hornets are carrying four Mk 83s each. Each Huey in your section is carrying four 2.75-inch rockets, six 2.75-inch HE, a .50 caliber machinegun, and a 7.62mm minigun. Requirement

In a time limit of 10 minutes, come up with a plan of action. First, describe your overall concept, then provide any reports and support requests. Then provide a brief explanation of your decision. Send your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #97-8, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703640-0823. For more detailed information on the structure of Marine Corps units, Marine Corps equipment, and symbols used in TDG sketches, see MCG, Oct94, pp. 53-56 and the modification reported in Jan95, p. 5.