This is a fictitious scenario created for the 29th Infantry Division's Annual Training exercise, Operation Chindit. The events depicted in this scenario are not real.

Marcalan Military Accelerate Attacks Against American Forces

by Staff Sgt. Jo A. Hoots
29th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT -- Marcalan forces continued their attacks against Fort Pickett’s 80th Airborne Division today, further consolidating their positions surrounding the installation. Military actions against the base have picked up as squad-sized ele ments have launched attacks at various points against the 80th’s defensive positions. These skirmishes and the increasing sniper fire over the past two days are taking its toll on the 80th’s manpower.

The speed with which Marcala’s military has accelerated attacks against the Army base since its forces initiated hostilities two days ago, led to the deployment of the 29th Light Infantry Division to the Caribbean island. "We’re preparing for the 29th Infantry Division’s deployment into the area," said Maj. Gen. Fred Doyle, 80th Airborne Division Commander. "The 29th is a highly-trained force; they know what they face here and they’re going to hit the ground ready to go. They’ll be an enormous asset to our people."

Marcala, a communist military dictatorship, has been under the ironclad rule of President Carlos Rivera since 1959. With the collapse of the Red Union over 10 years ago, the small island lost its primary source of economic and political support. Marcala watcher and political analyst Jose Quentaros said, "The island has pretty much shut itself off from the rest of the region since the fall of the Red Union. In the early days of his regime, Rivera was popular with the people, but since the wit hdrawal of support from the Red Union, things have really gotten bad. Poverty is widespread and the deteriorating economic situation is starting to undermine his regime."

The poor economy led Rivera’s government to implement food rationing in January of this year, a move that sparked nationwide strikes and demonstrations across the country. Hundreds have died in these protests, which have been quickly put down by Ri vera’s military forces. Their brutal suppression has helped cement opposition to Rivera’s regime, according to State Department analyst Bill Billmeyer. "Rivera has been trying to maintain power by using the U.S. as a scapegoat, but things have gotten so bad, I think he may be losing control." Refugees fleeing the island to the U.S. confirm this perspective, their stories describing a country in chaos.

Since the U.S. imposed economic sanctions against the island in December of last year for human rights violations, Rivera has blamed this action for crippling his country’s economy. He has used this to whip up popular support in his efforts to rid the island of the American military presence. However, Wall Street economists point to the slump in world sugar prices, Marcala’s chief export, as the primary culprit. Analysts say the crisis is aggravated by the economic woes of the former Red Union and its eastern bloc countries, which were once major purchasers of Marcala’s exports.

Protesters in this country say the sanctions have hurt the Marcalan people more than Rivera’s government. "People are starving in their homes," said Ann Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Coalition to Save Marcala. "We are not punishing Rivera and his henchmen with these types of actions; we’re hurting the people we want to win to our side."

However, rumors of an attempted coup against Rivera and the execution of 23 of his senior officers in February of this year, led dissidents from Rivera’s military forces to approach the U.S. embassy on the island to seek support. The situation rapi dly deteriorated when, in May, three U.S. soldiers were killed by a car bomb that exploded outside the gates of the installation.

"At this point, Rivera’s back is against the wall," said Billmeyer. "We’ve been aware of the movement of his forces and the President has warned him we will use whatever force is necessary to protect American lives and property. We take this threat quite seriously -- Marcala has a large force trained by t he Red Union and they are the largest military presence in this region. We will not tolerate this threat to our people and to our national security."

This is a fictitious scenario created for the 29th Infantry Division's Annual Training exercise, Operation Chindit. The events depicted in this scenario are not real.