The Mission
Chapter 4

Copyright© 2010 by Sagacious

One nice thing about stopping in to the division HQ is the food. They had actual cooks and hot grub. The coffee didn't come out of a pouch either. The cooks had adopted Kat as much as anybody had and whenever she came through the line her tray was piled up too high to see over. One of them would usually help her get to the table with it. It is almost sickening to see a big burly Master Sergeant with more hair coming out of his ears than on his head try to hold the door for the little girl in BDU's. Heaven help the poor soul who tries to cut in line in front of Kat.

At the table I sat across from Ann. Her eyes got big as she saw the tray Kat was bringing over. She looked like she was going to say something, till she saw the grizzled old cook helping Kat by carrying her drinks.

"I don't know what the hell is going on here, Hill, but you have obviously got these people buffaloed. They even help your unauthorized orphan. When I mentioned that I had time in grade on you, the CO told me that I could either work for you or for the shit burning crew, my choice. I'm not sure what kind of scam you are running, but I will find out and bust you, count on it buddy. There is no way you can be having the kind of results you say with no more power than Wolfelt told me about."

I sighed deeply trying to figure out how to win this woman over to my side. I didn't want to get rid of her, but if she were going to fight me I would have to. Ann knew how to run a TACJAM with the best; after all Doug Brigham had taught her, and she could be a big help. If she had to go I'd have to split out Stretch or Wolfelt's #2 to run her hut, then train someone to work with me. That was way too much trouble.

Tom Wolfelt sat down next to Ann. "No scam going on here Sergeant. We use directed power and interference, along with deception, to confuse the enemy and make them doubt their own radio network. All the power you need to have is just a little more than the guy you are blocking. The Russian radios only have two power settings, low and high. High is only 50 watts sent through an omni directional antenna. Even if you are twice as far away, 100 watts through a log periodic is going to overwhelm the signal at the receiver. The trick is to only hit the receivers you need to, not all of them, and not constantly. Just make the traffic more difficult to get through, or if you are lucky you can make it the wrong traffic. Hill sets out a plan for the net we are targeted against, and we follow that plan completely. If you try to strike out on your own you will be blasted and probably get us blown up too. Let us know now whether or not you can get with the program, cause if you fuck this up I'll shoot you myself and save Kat the effort."

Ann's head shot over to look at Katrinka. "Glupaya sobaka" is all Kat muttered. Ann looked to her second. "She called you a "Dumb bitch", Fleming said. "I would have to agree with her. The methods you were using got the rest of our teams shot up. Hill has kept his going for months and they have been effective. I like what I've heard and I'm working with them." Sgt Fleming put his head down and dug in to the food.

Christopher had a confused look on her face at this point, and I decided to push. "Lani, what have you got on the arty group that targeted us last time? I think that it may be time to shut them down." Everholz flipped her notebook over to a particular page and handed it to me. "Strelka 34, not very imaginative is he? (strelka means arrow) Gets his firing orders from Ladka 94, radar, Yabloka 45, number one gun, Strelka 35, and so on. Radar supervisor is queer? How the hell did they figure that out? Never mind, I don't want to know. Okay, Tom, I need you to get some recordings of Ladka, Yabloka, and Strelka 34. The number 2,3, and 5 guns are all on the same azimuth from a southern position so you'll block them. I will be directing traffic for Ladka and Strelka 34. You'll block all real traffic and use your recordings to cause confusion. Shift change is at 2000z hours. Lani, coordinate with the analysis hut and have them set up a time on target of 2005z tomorrow. We should have the radar so mad by then that he won't see shit coming in till it's too late. Christopher, you'll ride with Tom and Fleming with me. This should only take around ten minutes so we'll only use the two huts. Shamu can stay here and get the maintenance that I'm sure it needs after your trip down to join us. Johnson, your choice, go with whichever team you like. I want you three to get the idea in real time. Any questions?"

Ann looked at me like I was nuts, "Just like that, you are going to perform a mission without higher authority? How the hell are you going to do that?"

"He is going to ask me, young lady, and I will tell him to go for it. He's right, that arty unit has been a thorn in our side for too long. When he says to coordinate with the analysis group, he means me." Lt. Nichols had walked up behind Christopher while I had been talking. "He sees vulnerabilities the rest of us don't, and he has my confidence. Is that clear, Sergeant?"

I looked up at the LT, "Thank you ma'am. Could you see to the maintenance boys getting on the new system? I don't want to take it out until our guys get done with it. I wouldn't trust those 1st Cav mechanics as far as I could spit." When she nodded at me I looked around the table and everyone was finished eating, except of course for Kat. I nudged her, "get a doggie bag, hon, we need to get on the road." I looked over at Everholz, "you got our next sites, Lani?" When she nodded, I said, "Okay folks, let's move."

Everyone got up and headed out. I saw that Johnson was going with us. Mechanics were already moving Shamu and the jeep toward the motor pool. Christopher was able to slow them down long enough to get her and Fleming's bags and her on out of the jeep trailer.

It was a tight squeeze to get everyone into our vehicles. I had to stop by the motor pool to get a couple of extra hearing protectors. You could lose your hearing quickly without them in either the track or the goat. There were only two seats in the goat. Stretch and Lani took them, but there was sufficient space in the front of the track for four, especially since Kat took up so little room. I hoped that by the time we got to the site Deb and Lani would have made up. I hated the idea of losing either of them.; I depended on them both to keep me honest.

We arrived at our site and I pulled the track in under some trees, leaving me a straight-ahead exit. Backing TACJAM was not a quick thing, it had no mirrors and you had to have someone on the ground guiding you. Do without the ground guide, and you were likely to damage something. I shut down the engine and we all got out of the cab.

"Why did you park under these trees? You can't put up the antenna here." Fleming asked.

"This is our hide position, we'll be doing some radio work from here with the other team and HQ, and I don't want anyone from the other side associating our in-house radio traffic with the jammer. I never use the same site for both types of traffic. We always move at least a quarter mile away before running a mission. That is a part of my S.O.P. Lani has a printed copy of some of the things we have found to be good ops and you'll get it later. I didn't want to try and shove too much down Christopher's throat at once."

Fleming was nodding his head and walking over toward the goat. Tonight and tomorrow were going to be spent setting up all the little things that made for a successful mission. Our receiver wasn't DF capable, but we had the locations of all of the stations in the net and our azimuths to them. We switched off listening to the radio and working with the map and doing perimeter guard. I had Lani send a change to team two about targets. I heard something from one of the gun sites that I thought Stretch could exploit.

On a normal night we would all sleep in the goat. We would set up 3 sleeping bags and hot bunk it with the person on guard duty. You would wake the next person up, and as they got out you would take over their bunk. As I was the only male on the team I noticed some very odd scents from time to time. On a mission prep night there was too much activity in the goat to sleep very well. At these times the easiest thing to do was to set up a cot under a tree and stretch a shelter half out over it.

I was setting mine up when Kat came over. "Sergeant Mick, may I stay with you tonight? I have set it up so we have the same guard time; and of course I help you with radio."

One of the reasons we were so successful was Kat. I was not going to tell Ann this, but Kat worked with me on the nets. My Russian military terminology and such were pretty good, but I had never been any good at normal conversational Russian. The Soviet Union had some of the same problems with language that other large amalgamation countries did. Their people came from many cultures with differing modes and forms of speech. The military radio traffic was set up in such a way as to make the commander understood by everyone. No one cared if the tank driver was understood, but the commander's orders had to be. I was familiar with this, but when the ops slipped into conversation I was lost. Stretch was better than I was, but Kat was a native speaker.

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