CHAPTER 13

 

The Marines of the first platoon had assembled in the ready room aboard the Jackson for the mission brief.  The men had been hard at work for nearly an hour pouring over maps and pictures of the previously unknown Chinese base, trying to familiarize themselves with the area, when General Woods entered the ready room.

“At ease and grab a seat men. I have some bad news.  Due to a request from the C.I.A. the mission is going to be delayed until two men from the C.I.A. can get here to join up for this mission.” he announced as he walked up to the podium.

Colonel Rodgers stood and addressed the General, “Sir,”

“Yes Colonel Rodgers?”

“Are the C.I.A. guys taking over command and control of the mission?”

“I think that is what they intend to do, but what they want and what they get will be two different things,” assured the General to the men assembled in the ready room.

“Sir?” asked Diesel as he rose to a standing position.

“Yes Captain Mclean,” the general turned to face the captain.

“How soon until they get here?”

“I am under the impression that they will be leaving D.C. for L.A. within the hour and from there to Twenty-Nine Palms then it’s straight to here.  All told, call it sixteen to eighteen hours, but the mission will not be delayed for more than twenty-four hours.”

“Sir, Operation Whirling Dervish kicks off in less than three hours.” Diesel pointed out, and thought to himself that he and his men needed the confusion caused by the massive invasion strike force to tie up the Chinese and any response they may send to investigate his platoon’s insertion.

“I know what you’re thinking Captain,” replied General Woods. “You were going to use Operation Whirling Dervish to cover your insertion. The Chinese will be very busy for the next few days at the very least.  I think that with the deviation from the original plan your men should still be alright.”

Colonel Rodgers spoke up again, “Sir was there a reason as to why we need to have two people from the C.I.A. sent along on this mission?”

“I was told it was about politics, Colonel Rodgers,” explained General Woods with a grimace, as if his words had left a bad taste in his mouth.

The men knew that it was futile to try to change the situation now.  They sat together and revised their plans since now they would be inserted after Whirling Dervish had begun.  Not knowing the precise time that the two C.I.A. guys would arrive threw off a portion of the planning, the insertion sites may change and how the battle evolved would determine other factors. They made several plans together, based on different scenarios.

Operation Whirling Dervish called for the Navy to bombard the Chinese coastline at twelve different ports and bases while the Air Force bombed eight separate locations. The Marines were to do what they do best, amphibious assaults on ten of the ports and bases while the Army parachuted in five to seven miles beyond the coastline to set up a defensive line until the Marines linked up with them. The combined units would then wait for support to arrive before leapfrogging towards their objectives. During the time the Army and the Marines would wait for their support and reinforcements, the Navy and the Air Force were to pound anything that came towards the defensive line.

 

Admiral Austin sat fuming at his desk. Just minutes ago he had to delay a very sensitive mission. This planned mission from Captain Donovan Mclean was now in jeopardy of coming apart at the seams. Admiral Austin picked up the phone and dialed Jack’s number.

“Jack Boggs here.” he answered.

“Just what in hell were you think Jack? Because of your meddling, I have a mission delayed waiting for two people from your section to join up. Tell me just why this two and not someone that is already there?” asked the admiral.

Jack had been anticipating the phone call for about an hour now. His contact on the Committee had told him to have two men from the Army that were expendable, ready to go on the mission with the Marines. Jack inquired about why they shouldn’t use marines instead, and he was told that it was a possibility that the Marines may know one another and that the use of the Army would help fuel distrust amongst the men on the mission. He like the idea. He quickly chose two men that would suffice, Lieutenants Berkley and Wynn, oh how he hated those two. They had been assigned to his section less than 2 months ago. Always digging deeper than was necessary and doing things like talking to people thru unofficial channels to get things done. They had on more than one occasion stolen his thunder. They should be returning any minute from their trip home to get their go bags and kits.

Both lieutenants were model Army officers who had spent two years in the infantry and had gone ranger. Like good soldiers they had their go bags and kits pre-packed.  When they returned to the C.I.A. building they would receive the mission brief and travel orders. They were to catch a direct flight from ReaganNationalAirport to L.A.X. where they were to transfer to the military hub for a connecting flight to Twenty-Nine Palms, and from there would catch the last flight out to be ferried out to the ship.

Their flight departing from WashingtonD.C. was as uneventful as flights go.  The meal was fair and they both dozed instead of watching the in-flight movie.  When the plane touched down, they got their carry-on gear and waited in line to exit the aircraft with the rest of the passengers.  Their go bags and kits were put into a special container, sealed and checked through to L.A.X. military hub.  As the crowd moved off the aircraft and into the airport terminal, they noticed a sergeant holding a sign with their names printed on it.

The officers approached the enlisted man.  The Sergeant saluted the officers.  Lieutenant Wynn said, “Sergeant, that’s us,” pointing to himself and Lieutenant Berkley.

“Great, please follow me.” He led them to a side door that was located off the side of the gateway and down a set of stairs which descended to the ground outside. At the foot of the stairs was parked a Cushman electric cart. The sergeant got in.

“Hop in sirs, and brace yourselves, our max speed will be a whooping ten miles an hour. We have one stop to make before we head over to the military terminal.”

Lieutenant Wynn just grinned and shook his head. As the sergeant maneuvered the cart to where the ground personnel were unloading the passenger’s luggage Lieutenant  Berkley asked jokingly,

“Do we get a movie and a meal with this trip sergeant?”

“No sir, but you do get triple air miles and a cheap tour of the airport,” said the sergeant with a chuckle.

“Free seat upgrade here I come.” quipped Lieutenant  Wynn.

Just then the sealed and locked container holding the lieutenants go bags and kits came down the conveyer belt. The ground personnel loaded it up on the back of the cart for the men. As the container was being loaded the sergeant handed the lieutenants each a set of hearing protectors. The sergeant then picked up a radio from the carts dash and keyed the mic.

“Tower control, this is Sergeant Carson of military transport requesting permission to cross the field.”

“Hey Gary, sorry ‘ol buddy, the pattern is full, you’ll need to use the tunnel,” came the reply from the tower control technician.

“Hello Chris, man do I have to?  I hate the tunnel it is dark, smelly, and dusty as hell,” complained the sergeant.

“Don’t blame me, I didn’t make the flight schedule, I just work here,” was the reply.

“Spoken like a true civilian, later Chris.”

“I am what I am; hey don’t forget about this Saturday”, said Chris.

Sergeant Carson tossed the radio back onto the Cushman’s dash board, mashed the accelerator and turned the steering wheel sharply as they headed off for the tunnel.

“What’s the tunnel?” asked Lieutenant Berkley.

“It is really not a tunnel but a large underground parking and storage area under the tarmac of the runways.  The airport has tons of stuff down there.  There are trucks, buses, containers that hold chairs to cots and emergency food and water.  We even found a few containers that held ice melt.”

“Ice melt?”  asked Lieutenant Wynn.

“That’s right Ice melt, right here in sunny southern California.  We think it is being stored for someplace like Denver,” surmised Sergeant Carson.

As the trio made their way through the underground storage spaces, they were completely unaware that they were being watched. The tunnels were lit by the orangish-yellow overhead lights. The lights were harsh enough that dust molecules could be seen suspended in the air.  Jack Boggs had alerted the Chairman about which intelligence officers were selected and he forwarded the travel itinerary for the two men.  The Chairman made contact with an associate in Los   Angeles and arranged for the officers to be dealt with.

 

From inside the terminal where the two Army Lieutenants had just left, two men dressed as police officers stood looking out one of  the large tinted glass windows watching the progress of the Cushman cart.

“Targets are taking the underground route, notify group three, and please remind them that they are to do this quietly.” spoke the Chairman’s Los Angeles contact.

“Yeah, whatever,” was the nonchalant reply from the man whose men had been hired to do the job. “Heads up Tommy, the targets are heading your way and the boss man says to remind you that it needs to be done quietly.”

 

“Okay and does he have any suggestions as to how we should do this?” asked Tommy, the leader of the men sitting in ambush of the two lieutenants and the sergeant. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small bottle. “You and I have a date when this job is done,” he said as he turned to the rest of his men.

 

The Chairman’s associate was losing his patience with these street gang thugs. He thought that they were really weren’t much smarter than a box of rocks. Most if not all had to have drug problems. That combined with the paranoid actions that these lowlifes exhibited. Their actions made him think that he may have to have the whole group removed just to insure their silence. He thought about it some more and decided to have some cocaine mixed with a poison delivered with the money and have his team standby to kill any who decided not to partake in the free opiates.

The chairman’s associate grabbed the radio.“Just do your job and do it quietly,” he reminded the man leading the third group.

“Hey man, cool your jets. I get it, you what nobody to hear,” shot back the man leading the ambush team.

The cart came into view. The leader of the ambush group grabbed a small black box he had set on the container in front of him. He lifted the switch cover and waited until the cart was almost to the kill zone before toggling the switch.  This device was a remote control designed so that when activated, the power was disengaged to the Cushman electric cart.

The cart’s electric motor immediately stopped functioning and the cart slowly coasted to a halt about two hundred yards from the corner where the stairs and elevator. The stairs and elevators led to the military side of the airport. The ambushers had setup their kill zone just outside one of the security cameras field of vision and for an added precaution setup a few of the containers to block the view of any surveillance camera that may scan and record the area and what they were up to.  Another contact for the committee had fabricated a work order so the men could be working in the tunnel.

“Sir, I don’t know what happened; I just charged this cart up less than an hour ago.” said the sergeant.

“How much further to our stop, sergeant?” asked Lieutenant Wynn.

“It is just around the corner to the left, just past those containers there and you should see the doors for the stairs and the elevators.” replied the sergeant pointing to the right.

“Want us to help you push this thing over there.” offered Lieutenant Berkley.

“Thanks that would be great. Just let me call Triple A and get them to send a repair car to see if they can fix this damn thing,” said the sergeant as he lifted the radio.

It was at this time that three members of the kill team made their approach to the cart and offered their assistance which was gladly accepted by the Lieutenants and the sergeant. The sergeant put his radio away without using it in order to help push the cart out of the way. When the cart was in the middle of the kill zone the men from the kill team each pulled out a taser and stunned the others. More men came out of the open container and dragged the now unconscious bodies of the lieutenants and the sergeant to the container they came out of. When the unconscious men were deposited on to the floor of the container they were bound and gagged. Out of one of the other containers walked two men that were dressed in army dress uniforms. One of the
men that were securing the lieutenants and the sergeant started to rummage thru the lieutenants pockets, he removed the men’s military identification cards and cash. He kept the cash and handed over the identification cards to one of his teammates. His teammate had a small handheld magnetic strip reader and programmer. As the imposters got closure to him they each pulled out a military identification card with their picture on it and a blank magnetic strip and handed them over. The man with the scanner first swiped Lieutenant Wynn’s identification and then the corresponding imposter’s identification; handing it back to the imposter he said “You are now Lieutenant Wynn”. He repeated the process for the next man adding that he was now Lieutenant Berkley.

As both imposters were getting their new Identification cards, another member of the kill team cut off the lock from the container on the cart to retrieve the bags from the cart. The imposters them started to remove items from the lieutenant’s bags and replacing it with their own. Once the items had been swapped out the bags and kits were placed back in the container. The container was then shut. The imposter Lieutenant Wynn then pulled out a lock from his pocket to lock the container When this task was finished they looked over to the leader as he snorted his drug of choice up his nose.

“Remember to get rid of the bodies someplace where they won’t be found anytime soon,” said the imposter Lieutenant Wynn as he started to walk away.

“And don’t kill them here,” added Lieutenant Berkley over his shoulder.

“Don’t worry man we know our job now get going,” said the semi stoned leader.

The imposters each grabbed one of the carry handles on either end of the container and started to walk towards the doors to the stairs as others from the kill team removed the device that shutdown the cart and wiped the cart and the containers down to remove any finger prints that may have been left by any of the killers.

The imposters walked up to the doors that lead to the stairs. Lieutenant Wynn pulled out his Identification card and ran it through the card reader attached to the door as a security measure. After a few seconds delay the door clicked and Lieutenant Wynn pulled the door open and he and his partner walked through letting the door slam shut behind them. The booming of the door slamming echoed through the tunnels.

The stairway was completely different from the underground storage. The stairway was brightly lit with white lights and spotless. Instead of bare concrete for the floors and walls the floor was titled with insets of each branch of the military emblem. The walls were finished and painted white. The foot falls of the two imposters could be heard loudly echoing through the stairway. They climbed the five sets of stairs passing framed prints from each branch depicting some event from their own history.

At the top of the stairs were a set of doors just like the ones at the bottom,  Lieutenant Berkley ran his Identification card through the card reader that secured the entryway, the doors swung open automatically allowing the imposters to pass through. Lieutenants Wynn and Berkley walked up to the counter that had a sign that read Departures.

Both men handed over their Identification cards and the man behind the counter did a cursory inspection before running the IDs through the computer system. “Sirs, your flight will be boarding in 10 minutes and set to takeoff in 30 minutes. Do either of you have any luggage that you wish to check?” asked the man.

“Yes,” was the reply from both imposters.  Lieutenant Wynn pointed to the container both men were giving their fake identification cards back as the man called for some men to collected the container and put it on the conveyor belt. The imposters then made their way to the waiting area and grabbed a seat.  Lieutenant Wynn removed his phone from his belt and called the chairman’s associate overseeing the ambush teams.

“Yes,” said the Chairman’s overseer as he answered the phone

“We are here safe and sound. We should be ready to leave anytime now,” said Lieutenant Wynn.

“You understand your orders?” asked the leader.

“Yes we do,” was Lieutenant Wynn’s reply.

“Good, there is one more thing to add to your list that needs to be done,” said the overseer.

“What would that be?” asked Lieutenant Wynn.

“You are to eliminate the Marines after you have confirmation of the removal of the Chinese General.

“No problem,” said Lieutenant Wynn as a small smile spread across his face.

“You will need to coordinate your move against the marines with that of the security forces already at the site so you do not end up as a large pasty mess. You can reach your contact at the site using the satellite phone. He is the number one in your speed dial.” What he did not say was that was the only number they could call. “He knows about your mission and is taking steps to ensure your safety. Have a good flight,” said the associate as he closed the connection.

Lieutenant Berkley turned to face his partner as he put down the magazine he had started to browse. “Anything new happening at home?” he asked.

“Just a few minor details that need to be taken care of once we get going. I will fill you in when we have a little more privacy. Did you see anything to eat around here, I’m hungry?” said Wynn as he looked at his watch that read 12:40 in the afternoon.

“I think I saw a vending machine by the phone bank over there,” said Berkley pointing off to his left.

Lieutenant Wynn got up and walked over to the phone bank was and found the vending machine. He made his purchases and was walking back to his seat as the announcement that boarding was going to start for his flight. He tossed Lieutenant Berkley a small package from the vending machine. “Eat up, we have no idea what we will be eating once we get to where we are going. But for now let’s just get aboard that damn plane.”

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