Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Marine Corps Role Playing Game Revisited

A couple of months ago I wrote a post linking to an interesting tactical decision game in that month’s issue of the Marine Corps Gazette. Some of the solutions to this game (along with a reprint of the scenario) have been published here. The key decision of the game revolved around whether a Marine corporal leading a four man recon team should disregard his orders to “avoid confrontation with the enemy except for self-protection” in order to save a couple of local girls from being gang raped by a larger foreign military force.

Three responses were printed. One solution was for the Marines to snipe the rapists in order to force them to cover so the girls will have a chance to escape, and then to withdraw from the area. Another solution was to report the incident to higher-ranking officers and allow the platoon staff to make the decision as to whether the Marines can deviate from the established plan. The third solution also reports the incident to headquarters and asks for direction, but this solution is a bit more explicit in suggesting that the team be allowed to rescue the girls. The author of the third solution does not give any rank, and may be a civilian. I find it interesting that the author of the second solution is a 2nd lieutenant, while the author of the first solution (and the game) is a major. Keep in mind that both officers are supposed to be solving the game as if they were just a corporal.

Only two data points is not enough to really draw general conclusions, but if I had to take a lesson about the most likely Marine response to a real situation similar to this tactical decision game I would guess that the corporal leading the recon team would probably report the incident to his commanding officer, who would then give the team permission to risk their lives to save the local girls from being raped.

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