CHAPTER 17

 

Diesel looked at his radio operator, Tex, who kneeled next to him. Diesel held out his hand. Suddenly there was a receiver in his hand.

“Sherwood Forest this is Robin Hood. How do you read me? Over,” said Diesel after waiting the proscribed second.

“This is Sherwood Forest, we read you 5 by 5. How do you read us? Over,” came the reply from the communications technician.

“Robin Hood reads you 5 by 5. We are on the road to Nottingham, over,” said Diesel after the brief brust of static.

The voice of the communications technician at the other end of the receiver replied, “Robin Hood you have a go. Sherwood forest out.”

Diesel looked over to his left at Tex and said, “One day I would love to meet the guys who come up the code names for these missions and beat them about their ears and shoulders.”

Tex looked over, grinning at him as he replaced the receiver and commented that he had visions of the Mel brooks classic movie Robin Hood Men in Tights  running though his mind.

As Diesel was checking in, the squad leaders along with their fire team leaders with the two imposters in tow made their way to where the command section was.

The men of the platoon were busy turning on their night vision goggles. These were the newest version. They allowed the person using them to see 140 degrees, and had overcome the loss of depth perception.  While the men were adding some natural cover to their uniforms as the command section was meeting.

Diesel was fishing out his maps and the infrared light so they could see the map. As he found his light, Gunny was orienting the map. Diesel pointed to a spot on the map. “This is where we are. Squad leaders, I want us to deploy like we discussed back on the ship. I still want Nightstalker with Voodoo’s fire team on point. I want First squad on the left flank, Third squad on the right flank and second squad in the center. Command section will follow second squad. No names and ranks on the radios, use call signs. Maintain your distance at all times.  Nightstalker if you run into anything out there you are to hold. First squad will move up to support you and the flanks go for a pincher move. You two are to stay with the command section,” Diesel said as he pointed to the imposter army officers.

Diesel looked to Nightstalker. “Do you have are traveling directions yet?” Diesel asked.

“Yes sir, but I do have one question?” asked Nightstalker.

“And just what might be that one question be Nightstalker?” replied Diesel.

“Did we bring enough food, because I swear I just heard T-bone’s stomach growl,” was Nightstalker’s reply.

This got the men to crack grin.

“All jokes aside Diesel, I would like it if we assigned Ski and Bear to the command section,” voiced Voodoo. “
“I would like to say I agree with Voodoo on this one Diesel,” chimed in Gunny.

“No, I don’t think so, or at least not at this time. When we get closure to the objective I will think about again. Is that fair enough for you two mother hens,” quipped Diesel.

They both said yes.

“Nightstalker, we move out in 10 mikes,” said Diesel.

As the men were preparing to move out, both of the imposter Army intelligence officers came up to him and asked. “Have you checked in yet?”

“Yes I did”, replied Diesel.

“You should have informed us,” said Lieutenant Wynn man, his tone was condescending.

“I don’t have to tell you crap. This is my platoon and I am the senior officer here,” Diesel could tell that his answer was unsatisfactory to the two men.  They looked as though they still doubted Diesel’s authority.  Diesel continued, “Listen up numb nuts, you and your friend are not fooling us at all. This is your first trip in country, and you two are so spooked and you’re too nervous to admit it. So here is what you two are going to do. You’re gonna watch what the good Gunnery Sergeant does and do what he tells you to do. We don’t have the time to take a long leisurely stroll and show you all the things you need to know about how to survive out here. Do you two idiots read me?”

“Yes sir,” came the staccato response from both men.

Donovan turned to face Lieutenant Jefferys. “I want you to pay close attention to what the gunny says; you do what he does and how he does it. You step where he steps. If you can do that, we just might make a recon marine out of you yet,” Diesel said as he passed the lieutenant.

It was 0215 hours and the men were ready to move out. Diesel reached for his throat mic and pressed the transmit button. “Head’em up,” he said.

To which Gunny did the same but said. “Move’em out.”

The whole platoon whispered “Rawhide.”

Nightstalker was on point with Voodoo and his fire team supporting him. It was smooth going for the first 15 minutes then the ground stated to become broken. There were great mounds of dirt and downed trees. The platoon passed seven such mounds before coming to the first trench. Nightstalker called a halt and informed Diesel of what they had stumbled upon. Diesel ordered Bunker to go with Nightstalker to investigate this trench. 10 minutes later Bunker reported back that they seem to be just like the ones he had used when helping out on digs

The platoon moved on after taking note of the gps coordinates. They later came across a small field that seemed to have the top 4 feet of soil removed. Diesel sent the first fire teams from all three squads to check out the field. Within a few minutes they too reported back that it looks like another dig site after finding balls of string and little orange flag littering the ground. Diesel had them return after they covered their tracks.

“Nightstalker, find us a place to belly up for the day, the sun will be up in less than an hour,” Diesel said.

“Will do Diesel,” Nightstalker acknowledged.

The platoon methodically made their way through the forest for another 45 minutes. They kept to the mantra for moving, steady is smooth, smooth is fast. Each man had one eye out for booby traps and the other eye out for movement. The men knew that they could trust the man next him to keep vigilant while on the lookout for the odd and unexpected. They had gone almost 5 miles in the 3 hours they had been on the move.

Nightstalker’s voice came through the radio again. “Diesel, I do believe I found our home for the day, dense woods and bamboo with running water.”

Diesel replied “Does it come with room service?”

“No but it does come with a wake up service,” chimed in the Gunny over the radio.

“Then by all means lead us in. Gunny set the perimeter and make sure to include our guests in the watch,” Diesel said over the radio. 10 minutes later Static came up did his check on the Diesel and the rest of the command section. The other medics were doing the same to the men in their squads. Gunny voice was heard over the radio tell people to clean their weapons and get some chow. Diesel used this time to look around his surroundings.

They were bedding down in quiet a nice little nitch. The trees would provided some broken sun light. Diesel could see the sky turning a orange pink through the green canopy of the large wide tree tops. The small babbling brook running through the bamboo and winding around some of the trees gave a soft gentle background noise. There were flowers that were opening in the morning light. They reminded Diesel of the morning glories that his mother used grow in baskets that hanged from the back deck and grow along the handrails. Birds and other animals were starting to stir. Diesel breathed in deeply and smelled the air. The air smelled clean, there was no hint of ozone or any other chemicals that one would normally smell on board a ship. This place was serene. Diesel could hear Tex, his radioman checking in with the ship and watch Lieutenant Jefferys dutifully following the Gunny around. Diesel watched the Gunny put the two imposter Army officers with Sgt Gilberts fire team in the first squad.

Gunny Riddel along with Lieutenant  Jeffery finally made it back to the command section.

“Lieutenant why don’t you find a nice soft spot of forest over there and clean your weapon and then get some chow before you get some shuteye. I will doing the same as soon as I check in with Diesel,” said the Gunny.

“Will do Gunny,” said the lieutenant as he unsuccessfully tried to stifle a yawn. Lieutenant Jefferys unloaded his weapon and visually verified that the weapon was safe. Next he quickly disassembled his weapon and gave it a quick wipe down and applied some lubricant called CLP to the moving parts. He then quickly reassembled the weapon, loaded the weapon and chambered a round, then put the weapon’s fire selector on safe. He did all this under the watchful eye of Sgt Cherry. Sgt Cherry gave a barely perceptible nod to the Gunny that  Lieutenant Jefferys had done the work correctly.

Sgt Albert Cherry as a fair sized man at age 26. He was the fire team leader for the first fire team for the third squad. Like the rest of third squad he would spend his free time in the gym. Where the others of the squad were bulking up, he and his team were strength training and going for definition. The men called him Pit.

Gunny Riddel approached Diesel who was finishing up his own weapon maintance while his food was heating up. “I got the platoon pretty much in a triangle shape for the duration of our stay here in the bamboo bungalow. I put the army officers with Domino’s fire team instead of with Sgt Gilberts. Lieutenant Jefferys seem to be doing better. He is catching on fast enough. What happened on the hanger deck with him anyway, sir?”

Donovan swallowed the bite of chicken in teriyaki sauce that he had in his mouth and finished assembling his weapons with his eyes closed before he gave the Gunny an answer. “He was a little dehydrated and had a small problem with his nerves.  It seems that he came to realize that I am not such a bad guy as he first thought. He and Lieutenant Smith were friends, he thought I was unfair to Smith and he was going to fix it. But he went and read the after action reports for a few months back and found out what really happened. He even made an apology to me for his actions.”

“That was mighty nice of him. We need to come up with a callsign for him. I was going to suggest shadow until he told me, you told him to follow me around,” said Gunny.

“How bout we call him Eyes,” Diesel suggested.

“I like it. I will tell the men and the lieutenant. Now what about the two army officers?” asked Gunny.

“What do you think of Tweetel Dee and Tweetel Dumb?” asked Diesel.

“I love it. They might not, but who cares what they think. I will pass that one along also. Which one is which thou?” asked the Gunny.

“The big one, Lt Berkley is Tweetel Dumb. Big and dumb,” quipped Diesel.

Tex came over to report that there was nothing new from the ship and that the next call in time is in 4 hours. Then he too cleaned his weapons and ate some chow. Within a few moments of finishing his meal, Tex was sound asleep with his weapon cradled in his arms.

The Gunny, the squad leaders, and Diesel had an impromptu meeting to discuss the next leg of their journey, the rotation of who had the watch. After which Diesel took the Gunny’s advice and got some shuteye.

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