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The Thin Green Line

Stories of Courage from the Awards File

Cisco's Brass Ball

Ranger becomes the first Marauder to earn a Silver Ball.
He eliminated 11 players with 4 shots.

Dateline-Firebase Freedom

The Silver Ball is almost impossible to earn under normal combat conditions and the Scarlet Purple-Nickel can be rather painful. But before you start asking if you've earned a Silver Ball, the first Marauder ever to be nominated for one eliminated eleven men out of a sixteen man attack force while firing only four shots, and he lived to tell about it! So when you can out-do that, let me know. And give me the names of your witness's.

The Silver Ball was once thought of by headquarters to be a mythical award that could be considered to be paintballs equivalent to The Congressional Medal of Honor. It was widely believed that there would never actually be a need to fabricate even a prototype for the award because the terms and conditions necessary to earn one were so impossibly high. Well...On that point, we were wrong!

It was in the final battles of Firebase Freedom during the spring of 1997. We had a good crowd of more than thirty players on field. After splitting into two teams we decided to play a game of, "Defend the Firebase". One team consisted of mostly rabble, reinforced with 4th squad. They moved out to occupy the bunkers on top of the hill. The sixteen-man assault team was made up of 1st, 2nd and 3rd squads with some rabble attached. The plan called for a three-pronged attack.

Predator and Maj. D Saster of 1st squad and Devilman, JB, and Hawk of 3rd squad would make an Alpha-Assault around the far side of the hill.

Pacman and Cisco, (also of 1st squad) along with some assorted rabble, would make their approach up the hill near the Jeep-Trail to attack from the Command Bunker's ten o'clock angle. Twinketoes of 2nd squad would take his rabble and go right up the middle from the woodline facing the firebase's twelve o'clock.

Its risky to spread your firepower out over such a wide area, but sometimes you've just got to try a new attack plan. The plan assumed that if the defenders were hit from enough different directions at the same time, their own firepower would be split enough for the attackers to infiltrate their positions and attrit them down.

What the attackers did not count on was Ranger of 4th squad. He started as his team's rearguard, then worked his way down into The Abyss and along "Widow's Fenceline." Not finding any movement, he cut down the hill and worked his way through the underbrush untill he came to the Jeep-Trail. Cutting across the Jeep-Trail he moved towards the shooting.

Finding three newbies who were huddled too close together, he moved in behind them and virtually tapped them on the shoulders, informing them they were out of the game.

Moving to his left and about four paces uphill he tagged out Minister and continued up the slope about twenty feet to the right where he tagged out Pacman from behind.

Cutting once more to his left, he shot Cisco who had moved just a few yards out in front of Pacman. From there he shifted more to his left at roughly the Command Bunker's eleven o'clock and dropped down into the grove where he tagged out JB then shifted down to the left and shot Devilman. Continuing down through the treeline, he tagged out a newbie who was supposed to be acting as his team's rear-guard. From there he maneuvered up through the "Tanker's Den" where he tagged out Twinkletoes and Jason.

While all this was going on, Predator, Maj. D Saster and a few other attackers had successfully fought their way up through the woods and taken the Alpha Position. They were clearing some of the sniper-trails when they got all shot up and taken out in rapid succession. As they found their way down off the hill they couldn't help but wonder, "What had happened to the rest of our team?"

"We went up the hill and walked into a hornets nest" Maj. D Saster said later.

As players filtered into the bivouac talking about what had happened and who had taken them out of the game, it became apparent that something extraordinary had occurred.

Ranger had defeated a sixteen-man assault team almost single-handed. At one point grabbing a players gunbarrell. The game was declared as a career high for Ranger and a great moment in Marauder History. Ranger was later nominated for a Silver Ball at Headquarters where the motion was unanimously approved.

 
Back to Ranger's photo at Firebase Freedom
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Unarmed Samurai Takes Ft. Charlie and wins the second Silver Ball in Marauder History

Filed by  Benjamin Tapia
June 10, 2005

  It was the second battle of Ft. Charlie.  1st Squad was playing against the 2nd, 3rd, 4th (call-sign Marauders).  Walk-ons were split between the forces. There were about 12 players per side. 1st squad would attack. Samurai received his orders to follow Predator, Sandman, Tanker, Metal Dragon,  Punisher and Associate Player Scroggman  on a long patrol over the berm and down river to the 11 O'clock jump-off point.  The balance of the team would attack from the 3 O’clock.  Samurai took the rear of the patrol hugging close to the river. When they reached the 11 O’clock position, Predator crept to the top of the Berm to check our position by peering over the top.  The Marauders were waiting. A couple of shots rang out as Predator fell back.  They continued down river until they could cross the slot undetected.  As they had to over-shoot our 11 O'clock  rendezvous point they continued to the 9 O’clock.  As Predator made his way further down, Samurai took a position behind a large tree at the 10 O’clock. He traded some shots with some of the opposing team and was forced to change his 20oz CO2 for his 9oz backup. When he peered down the main entry path to Ft. Charlie,  he noticed he could low-crawl to a wall just outside of the main fort.  From there he would have good position on the waterbed tower.  As he approached  the wall he received a few scattered shots from the trench works next to the waterbed tower. All of a sudden Samurai started receiving fire from Suicide in a bunker no more than ten feet to his left.  The only thing preventing Suicide from taking him out was a small corner of that wall and the fact that Tanker was behind a tree to his far left and had Suicide pinned. As he took some shots at Suicide his Spyder chopped a ball and his gun jammed.  No matter how hard he tried he could not get his bolt to free from it's frozen state. The only thing he could do was open his hopper and start throwing paintballs at Suicide from flat on his back.  Tanker had instructed him to fall back,  but now that his position was known he was pinned.  Just then Commander Papa was leaving the field!  He was shot out so Samurai asked for his gun. But before he could give it to him, Punisher appears on his way off the field.  Punisher gives Samurai his gun. Tanker is still instructing him to fall back but he is pinned down.  As he got ready to take aim at the waterbed tower with his newly acquired gun, he takes a hit in the shoulder just below the neck and is eliminated.

 He walked back with his loaner gun in the air and is allowed to join Tanker  and Sandman on the 11 O'clock ridge and tag up. Tanker then instructs him to fall in next to Sandman on the left.  Sandman in turn directs him to the 12. As he ever so discreetly peered over the ridge to get a look as to what was happening on the field, he sees deserted positions.  So many of the defense team got “blood lust” and abandoned their posts to counter attack the 1st squad that they are now vulnerable to attack.  Samurai moved a little to the left to get around a small wire barrier. He sees a player standing like " a sitting duck". He takes aim and squeezed the trigger. Once again "NO AIR?!" He pulled the  bolt back just to make sure. His worse fears were confirmed. He was given  a dud gun. Fortunately  his target approached him  to signal that he  had already been shot out.  Samurai then continued scanning the Fort.  All he can see are the enemy's backs in the supporting trenches, and only one player in  Charlie’s towers who could do anything about him;  But that player was trading shots with sandman down at the 11. There was only one minute left in the game and 1st squad had been beaten up to now.

  "Well pull up your pants and be prepared to get the living crap shot out of you"  Samurai said to himself as he stood up to make a play for the Fort. He ran across the open area that should have been protected.  He saw the one shot-out player standing next to Predator (who was himself shot out by now but was keeping a watchful eye on the game and the game-time)

The two eliminated players watched to see if Samurai was going to make it. He noticed the player in the tower did not see him. He zoned in on the closest gun port and prayed that a gun was not going to poke through and end his effort.  He slides baseball style up to the Fort and shoved in the gun now turned paperweight that was given to him earlier.  "GAME!!!"  He screamed  and braced for some late shots to come. None did. He saw Predator looking around and  blowing the whistle to end the game. With one minute to go.  Samurai turned the tide armed only with shear courage.  For his efforts he received the Silver Ball.

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AWARDS

1st SQUAD


Cisco carries the day and receives the Marauders first Brass Ball.


Story Filed by Michael G Shanks.
Dateline-Fort San Miguel
Sunday, December 20, 1998

A rather sizable group of players stood at the fork in the trails, which often serves as a sort of dead-zone for those who have been eliminated but wish to observe the rest of the battle.

One of the opposition guys pointed to a player who was lurking in the big ditch just below Bravo, "Hey!" he cried out, "Who's that guy?

"That's Cisco!" replied Maj.D.Saster, while looking through a large paint splat in the middle of his goggles. Practically the entire Marauder force had made the patrol across the field, taking the trail up around the backside of the hill and crossing over the upper ridge above the north end of the fortress. From here they could attack downhill onto the fortress area.

Only a couple of Marauders, including Cisco, had stayed behind to attack down at the southern end, and distract the Opposition Force holding the Fort.

It was an assault plan that had worked many times in the past, sometimes allowing a small force to dislodge a much larger one. But the trouble with using the same battle plan against the same group of guys is they learn to anticipate your moves. You are always trying to gain the element of surprise.

As the column approached the crest of the ridge, Pacman and Maj.D.Saster took up positions to the left and right of the gap where the trail opens out onto the plain. Druid moved out between them and keeping in a low crouch advanced down into the field. He halted to watch and listen. The field appeared to be clear and Marauders began moving through and fanning out to the left and right.

Maj.D.Saster followed Druid and two Mike Force-Marauders moved out behind him, the four of them apparently forming the far right of the Marauder's line. Druid was advancing at a fairly quick step and after several failed attempts to flag his attention by more subtle techniques, Maj.D.Saster eventually had to shout at him to hold up!

There were too many guys strung out too far behind them. In this thick brush and overgrowth, if your men get too far apart in a column, then they can’t help you when you make contact with the opposition, so you have to halt and let the column close up to form a skirmish line.

As the line began to move again, Maj.D.Saster came under fire! He fired back, but out of his gun came a large spray of wet red paint, along with a small flurry of paintball shell-fragments! At that moment he must have figured the only thing he could do now was to draw fire so that the rest of the guys in line could deal with the threat, so he shouted,

"OK, Let's go!" and then he charged towards the enemy! The Mike-Force guys and Druid got up to charge in with him, but the whole advance really did not get very far before a hail of fire from multiple sources nailed Maj.D.Saster right in the middle of his goggles. Some of the other guys took hits and the Marauder team quickly lost a sizable number of its strength.

As Maj.D.Saster exited the field with his gun held high over his head, he was surprised to see how many of the Op-Force players were waiting for them.

The defenders had watched from the fortress as the Marauders maneuvered across the field and figured out their plan of attack. In a remarkable example of spontaneous reorganization, the Op-Force had shifted their defense away from the Fort and re-deployed in a wide arc across the backfield. When the Marauder force advanced, they had moved right into the arc of the ambush and were subjected to fire from many angles. It was an impressive bit of tactical improvisation.

Meanwhile, over on the left wing of the attack, things were not going much better. As the left section of the assault group started to move down the hill, they not only ran into the same ambush but also came under fire from the rear as well.

By not detaching a squad to advance across the wooded front slope of the hill while the column was still on the trail, the Marauders had committed a basic error in tactics. Now there was an Op-Force squadup there behind the left wing of the assault. They would later brag and cackle with delight about how they had caught Pacman and Running-Man and a slew of others from the rear, shooting several targets in the back!

Down in the dead-zone, Maj.D.Saster poured some water from his canteen over a wad of tissues and washed the paint off his goggles. He had not seen where Cisco came from. He was observing the game when he became aware of a player making a creeping advance. Cisco had somehow made it through the opposing line and down into the big ditch!

There had been a squad of Op-Force guys out in the lower field, several yards to the right of the dead zone and a few yards out in front of Bravo's twelve o'clock angle. Most of those guys were now milling around the dead zone and there seemed to be no one left in the field, except for Cisco, who was now against the embankment below Bravo where he could not be seen from the fortress positions.

The Op-Force guys standing next to Maj.D.Saster, stood there watching Cisco.

"How come nobody is doing anything about that guy?" he asked.

"Because no one knows he's there and he's below anyone's line of sight, that’s why!" was Maj.D.Saster's answer.

The only way to see over the edge of the big ditch was to come out and look over the side. But it was unlikely anyone would do that since no one in the Fort had any reason to even suspect Cisco was there! The battle continued as Cisco seemed to consider where to go next. He didn't have long to wait!

Two Op-Force men left the main trench and recconned up to the edge of the big ditch. They looked out at the field and checked the ditch below them and from where they were standing, they could probably see all of the KO'd players who were standing around the dead zone, watching the battle. They did not see Cisco. Everyone in the dead zone watched, while the two Op-Force players moved down over the edge into the ditch and headed off towards the north end.

Cisco followed them up the ditch and disappeared among the brush. Barely a minute later, there was a short exchange of gunfire, followed by a flurry of debate around the dead-zone as players speculated on the outcome of the engagement. Then the two Op-Force guys came walking down the ditch towards the dead zone, with their guns up. As they came out of the brush and into line of sight, one of them could be

heard to say,

"I don't know where that guy came from!"

Cisco now climbed up over the ridge and worked his way south along the edge of the embankment towards Bravo!

Closing in on BoxCars Bunker he pushed the barrel of his gun through the slit and barked,

"Give it up! The bunker is dead!" but the small bunker was unoccupied. He moved over to Bravo and ran his gun barrel through the front opening, firing at the guys in the trench while calling on the occupants of the Bravo bunker to surrender! Out came some more of the Op-Force garrison, but others held their positions and kept up the defense!

A defender in Charlie stood up and opened fire on Cisco, who fired back with a short burst and scored a hit, eliminating yet another man!

"Come on out!" commanded Cisco, "I'm not going to shoot you guys anymore!"

Suddenly, gunfire from Alpha almost got Cisco, forcing him to drop down behind the bunker to avoid being hit. He paint-checked himself and called out a wound, having received a single minor hit. As he returned fire, a couple of other defenders took off from Alpha, running fast around the back side of Charlie as they attempted to get around his other side! Cisco caught sight of them and came up firing, but his targets were moving and just managed to avoid being hit as they got into the cover of brush and trees.

Cisco had been flanked! He knew he was about to have hostiles on his left and right. Now he was receiving fire from both sides and trying to shoot at three or four targets at the same time! The second and final hit soon followed and Cisco was eliminated. But what a terrific action!

From down at the dead zone where most of these events had been witnessed, Maj.D.Saster nominated Cisco for a Brass Ball! Pacman, having also been present to observe this outstanding action agreed and immediately validated the nomination.

Headquarters is proud to recognize actions carried out in the finest traditions of Marauder tactical doctrine. Due to his daring and aggressive actions, Cisco very nearly turned the tide of the entire battle for his team! Congratulations