The cargo jet had just shut down and the imposters Wynn and Berkley were stepping down from the aircraft on to the flight deck of the USS Jackson. Since this was the first time that either man had been aboard a ship they were in no way prepared for what they saw. The flight deck was in constant motion. With yellow shirted flight deck crews moving aircrafts from place to place or prepping for the takeoff or landing of aircraft. There were red shirted men waiting around near the firefighting equipment hoping and praying that they have a very boring day. Then there were the men in blue shirts that were busy arming aircrafts with ammunition and other ordnance. The men that were wearing brown shirts and green shirts seemed to be doing maintance to the aircrafts. Lastly there where men in white shirts that appeared to be running the three ring circus that was the flightdeck.

As both imposters stepped off the aircraft they paid little attention to their hats. No sooner did their feet touch the flight deck than a VTH-32 took to the air in a vertical takeoff. The jetwash from the departing aircraft blow their hats off and down the flight deck. A pair of men that were working on the flightdeck stopped their hats from either going off the ship or becoming FOD (Foreign object damage) was to step on the mens hats. The two men that were kind enough to stop the hats little trip were returning them to the owners as a man in a pristine white vest also approached the visitors.

“Here are your covers sirs,” yelled one of the men that had stopped the hats.

“What did you say?” inquired Lieutenant Wynn. He was yelling to be heard over the din of the aircraft that were taking off and landing.

“Your cover, it is we in the Marine Corps call your hat,” replied the other samaritan.

Just then the man wearing digital camouflage utilities with a pristine white vest that was approaching the imposters called out to them. “Are you gentlemen Lieutenants Wynn and Berkley?”

“Yes we are, I’m Lieutenant Berkley and this is Lieutenant Wynn.”

“Sirs, I’m sergeant Fina, I am a member of the general’s staff. Please follow me, he is expecting you.” With that he did an aboutface and started to walk away.

“Excuse me, sergeant!” yelled Lieutenant Wynn.

“Yes sir,” replied the sergeant as he turned back around and stepped towards the two men.

“You’re forgetting our bags sergeant,” quipped Lieutenant Berkley.

Sergeant Fina reached out and took both bags from the Lieutenants as he replied. “Sir you are correct. Now please follow me. The general is waiting for you below deck.”

It was late into the day as the imposters landed aboard the USS Jackson. As evident by the fact that the sun was starting to approach the sea. The lieutenants fell in behind the sergeant as he made his way across the ever in motion flight deck towards the starboard side of the ship to enter the hatch that would lead to the passageways. The imposters followed the sergeant though the ship, both of them were starting to get worried as they realized the there were certain protocols to be followed when dealing with officers and they had no clue as to what those protocols were. Just as they were turning to enter the passageway that lead to the general’s office the general was exiting.

“General Woods,” said the sergeant. “These men are Lieutenants Berkley and Wynn.” He indicated which one was which. “Lieutenants this is General Woods. I will take your bags to your temporary quarters.”

“Thank you sergeant, you’re dismissed, Lieutenants on my six,” said the general gruffly as he started to quickly walk through the ship. “Mind the knee knockers. Your arrival here should have been here hours ago. Operation Whirling Dervish kicked off just before dawn this morning. What was the delay?”

Knee knockers are a raised metal edge that goes around the water tight doors on a ship. This edge is about 10 inches off the floor and ceiling and about 6 inches from the sides. People that are new to life on a ship will sometimes run into the edge and either bang their shins or their forehead into this edge.

Lieutenant Wynn spoke up for them. “We needed to confirm some information with our supervisor, and get some approval for what we wanted to do on this mission, sir.”

What they really did was to talk with Jack Boggs and get the dossiers of the men from the unit down loaded to them so that they could determine who was the biggest threat and how to remove them.

“What sort of things did you need to get approval for? I have not been informed that there were any changes to the mission plan,” said the general as he quickened his pace through the ship. A smile crept across his face as he heard one of the Lieutenants hit one of the knee knockers. “Keep moving,” he said without turning to face them. “We are almost there.”

“Where are we going sir?” asked Berkley as he rubbed his shin.

“The mission briefing of course.” replied the general as came to an abrupt halt in front of a grey non water tight door. His sudden stop almost caused the two Lieutenant s to collide into him. “Due to the fact that you two decided to stop off and have a meeting instead of getting your asses here, we have had to put a mission on hold. Well the mission is going to go off as planned by Captain Donovan Mclean and it kicks off at 0001 hours.” He continued standing outside the door waiting for them to enter first.

At the other end of the passage way Colonel Rodgers and the briefing team were making their way to the room also.

The hatch behind the podium opened and in walked the briefing crew, the General, the colonel, and two men that no one knew and the men in the room quickly jumped to their feet as someone called out attention on deck. Then in walked the colonel and the general. The general walked up to the podium that gleamed in the harsh light of the ready room and spoke “At easy and take a seat, this is to be a informal brief. We will be covering a few new items, all I want to do is to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the tees are crossed. This is a simple mission so let’s keep it that way. Colonel, I turn the briefing over to you.” The two imposters walk down the left side of the room to find two empty seats.

“Thank you sir,” said Big Rig. He nodded to a sergeant who then started to hand out information packets to all the men and Captain Mclean also received an encrypted flash card that held the same information. “The pentagon and the Washington powers that be have decided to add two army intelligence officers to the mission. They will be their only to observe and to get eyes on any documents should you recover any. Please standup and introduce yourselves.” Lieutenants Berkley and Wynn did just that and took their seats again. “The name of this mission is Operation Taxman. You are to observe the base and report back what you see. As of this date there has been not determination if you will do snatch and grab. Your insertion point will be a small clearing in the valley of fu in the province of Jilian. This valley is lightly to moderately dense forest and situated south of the base. The valley is 14 miles long and just shy of 2 miles wide at the widest part. The valley runs from the northwest to the south east. Two small rivers converge near the northwest end of the valley. There are a few settlements on your approach vector, you may observe them from a distance but do not make contact. Your objective, the base, is located 125 mile from the capitol city of the Jilian province, Changchun. Please put slide one up.”

“Yes sir,” said the sergeant that had handed out the information packets. There was a slight whirrel as the slide screen slowly dropped down from the over head. The slide was of a detailed map.

Big Rig continued. “As you can see the base is situated three miles off the main rail line and highway that connect the city of Changchun to the city of Harbin in the province of Heilongjiang. Next slide please.”

The sergeant changed the slide to one that showed the base from above. This picture had been taken by a satellite.

Big Rig took a drink of water before continuing with the brief. “In this slide we can see that the base is quite large but laid out in a very simple pattern. Please note that this photo was taken at 1123 hours and that there are very few people out in the open. You will also note that the base has a large river dock, an air field, a 4 lane road, and a rail line spur that connects to the main rail line.” These points of interest the Colonel highlighted with a green laser pointer. “This area here,” The colonel highlighted it with his green laser pointer “Is a fuel depot that feeds the air field, the river docks, the rail yard, and this building here which we believe is the motor pool. Next slide please.”

This slide was of the same base but form farther distance, it showed the base with two boundaries that went around and enclosed the base. “From this picture we can see that the base has a double fence. This was taken at 1123 also notice that there are no guards walking the perimeter either outside the fence or inside the fence. Next slide please.”

This time the picture was of the same view but taken at night. “This photo was taken at 2245 hours, please note, the presence of guards on patrol. There also seems to be some lights evenly spaced on the perimeter. Next slide please.”

This slide was of the exact same view except that it was taken with thermal imagining. It showed that the building seemed to have little or no glow to them and the only heat sources were that of the people outside and of the electrical equipment outside of the building. The colonel took another drink of water before continuing with his part of the brief. “Notice that there appears to be three groups of four guards each inside the double fence and three guards at each entry point on to the base. I would also like to point out that the all of the buildings seem to be heavily shielded. Next slide please.”

The sergeant dutifully changed to the next slide. This photo was again of the base taken in day light. “Now here we show that they have cut back the forest around the base on average 40 feet from the perimeter fence. Note the lack of any sort of watch towers or search lights on the fence line. This does not mean that they have not got some other form of deterrent outside the fence so do be extra careful and expect booby traps and landmines. Next slide please.”

The next slide popped on to the screen, it showed the valley of fu and the base. “Like I said before your landing zone is at the far end of the valley. The landing zone in the valley is 14 miles from the main rail line and highway junction to the base.” The colonel was circling the junction with his pointer. “It is another 3 mile to the base here. The total distance is around 17 miles” Again he was circling the base with the pointer. “This is the electrical substation that feeds into the base. It is on your approach vector and it is 400 yards north of the highway. Next slide please.”

This time the photo was of a closer view of the highway, the rail line, and the electrical substation.  “As you can see here in the photo there is a small water way that passes under the rail line and the highway just prior to the branch that leads to the base.” The colonel was circling the small bridges for the men to see. “From this point here you should be able to see the station. There seems to be just the single fence on the perimeter and no guards stationed there. As you know one of your secondary objectives will to be to knock this building and the power lines down. You are to do this as you are extracting the area. Senior Chief Wright will be going over the communications with you now. Senior Chief.”

“Thank you sir,” said the senior chief as he walked up to the podium. The senior chief had flown out of the navy’s research lab in WashingtonD.C. a week ago to instruct the men in the use and field repair of the newest radio set that the navy had. He was a task master when it came to learning the ins and outs of the radio. All the men had become quite proficient at repair and very skilled at the radios uses in a very short time. “As you are well aware of you will be using the new radio communication set the mark 88B1. The system uses two sets of chipsets and two stages of encryption before it compresses and brust transmits the data. Remember that there is a one second delay from when you release the switch to the time it transmits. This is an omni directional system that uses satellites to connect with us here on the ship. You don’t have to worry about them listening in or homing in on the signal. The only way for them to listen in is to have the encryption chips and the frequency of the crystals in the clocks which we will sync with our system here just prior to you taking off so that won’t be a problem. As for them homing in the burst, forget it. The burst is so quick that they would need you to be having a conversation for over an hour and not moving before they could even get a general fix on your location. In our testing of the radios detection it took the NSA 45 minutes to get a general fix on the unit testing it. I will now turn the brief over to the platoon commander, sir”

Diesel walked up to the podium calmly, as he pocketed the encrypted flash card. He picked up the green laser pointer that Big Rig had left there for him to use. “Once we get to within 2 miles of the objective I will send out a team to scout out a good place for a CP.”  CP stood for Command Post. “Once the CP is set up, the squads will move out to their respected areas of observation and locate a good location for their OPLP’s. Once that is done the squads will breakdown into their fire teams to dig their support positions around their OPLP.” OPLP stood for observation post and listening post. “I will designate a number of E and E points.” E and E stood for Evade and extraction. “Each squad will have a primary and a secondary. When the time comes for us to extract, each squad will assemble at its primary E and E point. If the primary point is compromised they will head to the secondary point.  All three squads plus the command section will rendezvous at a landing zone to be determined once we are in place, should the need arise for us to E and E.”

“Excuse me,” said Lieutenant Wynn.

“Yes lieutenant, you have something that you wish to add,” said Diesel.

“I think that our landing zone should be here near this village at the north end,” said Lieutenant Wynn

“No.” was Diesel flat reply.

“It is closure to the objective, and we could observer the locales,” insisted Lieutenant Wynn forcefully. What he and his partner knew was that the Chinese General was going to be at that village to visit his mistress who lived in the village.

“I don’t care if it is closure to the objective. It puts the mission in jeopardy for no reason. What if the village is crawling with enemy troops?”

“I will be taking over command of this mission. General Woods, my orders are to ensure that this mission is completed and the only way to ensure that is to take command of this mission.”

Diesel was as stunned as the rest of the men in the ready room. None of them could believe what they had just heard. For a heart beat the only the sound heard was from the fan of the projector.

Colonel Rodgers jumped out of his chair and slammed his fist on to the table in front of him. “I must protest this, this is a Marine mission. No Army units are involved or CIA personal used in planning this mission,” he said practically yelled.

General Woods cleared his throat. “I don’t care what your order say lieutenant. This is a marine planned and marine manned mission. The good captain will be in charge and my orders state that you are to go only as observers. Colonel Rodgers, I agree with your arguments, and at this late a date I am not going to change the mission commander.” General Woods looked over at both Lieutenants Wynn and Berkley before he continued speaking. “You men will be accompanying the men going but they will take their lead from Captain Mclean. You will be going only to watch. Do I make myself clear on this subject?” he asked.

“Yes sir,” both men stated.

“Please continue captain,” General Woods said as a wide smile spread across his face.

Diesel cleared his throat. “We will be inserting in the very early morning hours, we will make our way till dawn and bed down for the day and move out under cover of night.”

Colonel Rodgers caught the eye of the general and motioned that he need to speak with the general in private. The general quietly got up and exited out the back of the ready room that was being used for the mission brief followed by the colonel.

“You wanted to talk about something Colonel Rodgers?” asked general Woods.

“Yes sir, I think those CIA boys are going to be trouble. I was wondering if there is a way to make sure that they don’t get a chance to call home and make more headaches than they already have, sir?” asked the colonel.

“I’m sure that I can do something and if I can’t I’m sure the ship’s Captain can. I’ll take care of it colonel,” replied the general.

When the colonel returned to the briefing, the briefing was coming to a close. It looked as if some peoples feathers got ruffled. The colonel spotted Lieutenant Jefferys starting to stand and stretched his arms as he was trying to exit. ”Excuse me Lieutenant Jeffery, what happened after I left to speak with the general?” asked the colonel startling the young lieutenant.

“The CIA men said that they were going to contact Langley and get this mission under their command and control. Then they just got up and walk out the other door, sir.” replied the startled lieutenant.

“Now isn’t that very interesting lieutenant,” he said as he rubbed his chin.

“Why is that sir?” asked the lieutenant.

“I do believe that they are about to find out that the ship is in a communications blackout.”

It took the imposter Lieutenants Wynn and Berkley ten minutes to finale find the ships communications center. It took the general three minutes to get to the ship’s Captain and two more minutes for the ship’s captain to place the ship in a communications blackout. A communications blackout is when everything that can send a signal is shut down from radios to radar.

“What do you mean I can’t contact Langley?” said Lieutenant Berkley rather loudly.

“I’m sorry sir, but the Captain has put the ship in a communications blackout. We cannot transmit any signal without his say so. There is nothing I can do,” said the nervous communication technician.

“Yes there is, you can get Langley on the horn, now,” said Lieutenant Wynn, as he was attempting to force his way into the communications room.

“No sir, I cannot and will not disobey a direct order from the ship’s Captain,” replied the young and now very nervous communications technician.

Both imposters started to force their way into the communications center. They reconsidered it as the marine standing guard duty inside the communications center placed his hand on his sidearm and advanced towards them both, saying in a calm and clear voice. “You two are not authorized to be in this room, you, will leave, now!” he emphasized the word now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s