The Nation: Night Encounter

It was 9 p.m., and night shrouded the Southern California coast. There was no sound but the rush of the surf as 80 Camp Pendleton Marines, their faces blackened, huddled in the brush in night ambush position. They kept their weapons at the ready in preparation for a night assault by "aggressors"—fellow Marines engaged in landing exercises.

Suddenly the stillness was broken by deep grunts as silhouettes appeared scaling a nearby fence. The silhouettes advanced, and so did the Marines, blasting away with blanks. Finally a Spanish-speaking sergeant understood the frightened shouts and curses of the ambushed platoon. In fact, it was...

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