Trouble at the ORP


You are a squad leader leading an ambush patrol through wooded terrain, which usually limits visibility to 50 meters or less. In addition to your three fire teams, which are well-equipped with claymores and grenades, you have a machinegun squad (two three-man teams, each with an M240G). You are equipped with a radio. Your squad is in its ambush site along a trail frequently used by the enemy. Your objective rally point (ORP), where you have left two Marines and your packs, is about 200 meters to the southwest.

It is about 0100, and you have been waiting for about 2 hours when automatic gunfire suddenly erupts from the direction of the ORP. The firing lasts only a few seconds and now it is silent again. It happened so quickly you can't be certain, but your sense is that there were at least 2 weapons involved but certainly no more than 3 or 4. You try to recall the sound of the exchange to determine if any of the weapons were M16s, but you cannot be sure. It will be light at 0500. Your platoon's patrol base is about 3 kilometers to the southeast.

It has now been 3 minutes since the incident and you have heard or seen no sign of activity from the direction of the ORP. What now, Sergeant?


In 5 minutes decide on your course of action, issue any orders, and make any reports or requests. Then provide a sketch of your plan and an explanation of your decision. Submit your solution to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG #98-5, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134 or fax 703-640-0823.