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prepared a general and special situation report for wide dissemination. While still preserving the secrecy of the actual mission, the brief more than adequately met all the requirements of the mission. This scenario or a derivative and the resultant operational plan were used on four occasions by the 9th Marines between November 1974 and April 1975 to test the ability of the regiment to respond to an emergency evacuation.27


The "CPX 3-75 Scenario," based on Vietnam, provided a realistic portrayal of the situation there, and as events would bear out, made Lieutenant Kinsell's situation brief a blueprint for history. Its accuracy on political events did not concern the Marines nearly as much as its depiction of the changing face of weaponry available to the enemy.27 Intelligence sources indicated that the North Vietnamese Army had, and the Khmer Rouge were suspected of having, some of the same types of antiaircraft weapons which had played havoc with the Israeli Air Force during the Yora Kip-pur War in 1973. On 5 October 1974 in response to this expected threat, Major General Norman W. Gourley, Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, established the 1st MAW Tactical Evaluation Board. He appointed his assistant wing commander, Brigadier General Richard E. Carey, as the senior member of the board. The other members were the 1st MAW G-2 and G-3 officers, all of the 1st MAW group commanders, and representatives of the 3d Marine Division. The purpose of the board was to determine what changes were required and what innovations could be incorporated into Marine air/ground tactics to reduce the risk to aircraft when exposed to sophisticated surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft weapons.28


General Carey convened the first meeting of the board at wing headquarters in Iwakuni, Japan, on 26 October 1974. He opened the meeting by announcing that he was confident U.S. technology could counter any advantages that enemy antiaircraft systems enjoyed at that moment. General Carey added, however, that this belief was of little comfort to him, in view of the fact that new technology was not yet operational. At present, there were contingencies that WestPac Marines had to be prepared to face, and the probability that other agencies would be of assistance was remote. This was to be a "self-help program all the way." As a result of the two days of meetings, the board concluded that the best way to combat weapons, which required visual acquisition before the weapon locked on the target, was to make the acquisition process as difficult as possible. This could be done by flying more missions in darkness and inclement weather. This would require a shift in training emphasis, in turn creating some safety problems. The environmental impact also had to be considered;


nighttime noise abatement plans were in effect in the vicinity of several of the air stations in Japan. The board decided that the risks in the training shift were more than offset by the potential improvement in the tactical proficiency of the wing's pilots. At the conclusion of the meeting, General Carey told the 3d Marine Division representative to tell Major General Kenneth J. Houghton that the wing would still provide the same level of support, but the division should be prepared to see more air support at night because night operations would be less costly in countering enemy antiaircraft defenses.29


By December 1974, the division and wing, particularly MAG-36, had reoriented their training schedules to cover the full spectrum of night training and had increased its frequency. This reoricntarion was none too soon.





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