The Mission
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2010 by Sagacious

When I met with Lieutenant Nichols just before the others joined me, my decision to leave this morning was justified. She told me that there was going to be a big push in our area tomorrow. They wanted me to instill confusion into the nets of the armor and artillery units directly in front of us. The theater commander had decreed that this front had become too static and he wanted some movement. I was told that 1st Cav to our north, and 1st AD to our south were going to push at the same time, but 2nd AD was expected to break through and get to the rear of their area.

Wolfelt, Fleming, and I got all the info we should need to plan a proper mission to back up the division. Lt. Nichols promised to keep us up to date on the time frame and attack area.

Ann had done her job and we were loaded, fueled and on our way before noon. I wanted a hide position well in the rear to get all three systems in one place to do our planning. I expected to stay together for one night and move to individual positions tomorrow morning to await jump off time.

Rodriguez joined Lani in the goat as security and navigator. This put Stretch in the track with Kat and me. If I had the time when we got done with this mission, I was going to have an intercom put into this beast. I had so many things I wanted to discuss with both girls, and hand gestures were not going to do it.

At the hide site I spread the maps out. We used the trailer of the jeep from team 2 as a table because it had a plywood top. This was going to be the most complicated mission we had done yet. There were five nets to be targeted to one extent or another, and we would be using two teams active, and one in motion. I was going to start with team 1 and two active. Team one would drop after about five minutes and team three would start up. Team one would move and as soon as they came back up, team two would drop and move. We would continue this rotation until one of us was targeted. At that point we would all drop and reposition. I didn't expect this to last too long. Our impact on the battlefield would not be able to be planned much after the action started. We would be reduced to targets of opportunity. We needed to plan for both success and failure as well. If the push succeeded, we would need new sites east of where we were now, but if it failed we would have to retreat and be prepared to run.

After dinner I was introduced to the other two new members of the teams. Cpl Williams was a small woman who had been a Boston Police Officer brought up from the reserves; she was working with Ann on team 2. Sgt Ron Wilson looked like he could lose some weight, until you noticed the arms bulging the sleeves of his BDU's. This man was built like a wrestler and was not to be trifled with. He should do well with Wolfelt.

By dinnertime all the planning was done, and all that was left was to wait for zero hour. All three teams were monitoring the stations they had been assigned and making recordings to use.

That night Stretch's cot joined Kat's and mine. There was no hanky panky and of course we all had guard duty.

Once we had breakfast we split up and proceeded to our sites to prepare for action.

Nineteen-thirty zulu was jump off time, and this time I waited till 1930z to begin operations. We did not want to warn the enemy. The attack needed to be a surprise, and a surprise it was. Our plans broke down within minutes of the start. Several of the units I was targeted against were off the net right away. Our artillery was pounding the shit out of them and nets were dropping left and right. We could feel the rounds landing miles away through the floor of the track. Our highest priority targets were the surface to air rocket sites. There were no SA-2's in this area, but there was an SA-4 net and an SA-6. I heard the Hornets scream overhead and the Wild Weasels took out the anti-air almost as soon as they popped their heads up.

Five minutes into operations Lani hit our scram button. Team 2 had joined the fight and it was time for us to move.

When we got to the next site we all piled out and I headed to the rear of the track. Suddenly I heard two shots ring out and Kat yelled, "NA PRAVA, ONI NA PRAVA"

I dropped to my belly at the rear of the track facing out to the wooded area to the left of the vehicle and flipped my rifle off safe. "RODRIGUEZ, 3 O'CLOCK, STRETCH, GET THE 6, LANI, THE 12, I HAVE 9." All positions in a site were relative to the TACJAM, it was always pointing at 12 o'clock. I didn't give a command to Kat because I was sure that she would join me if she could. I saw movement in the trees ahead of me and snapped off a shot with my M-16. I wasn't sure whether or not I hit the target, but I could not see it anymore. There were several shots behind me and I heard a couple hit the side of the TACJAM. A moment later a small body dropped next to me and Kat touched my shoulder.

"I go to put down rod and see man in woods pointing gun at goat. I shoot same time he did and he drop. We near where farm was, maybe same people burn my familia. Maybe I kill one of them, I hope so."

Kat's English took a bad turn when she was not able to give attention to it. She would slip in Russian words without realizing it; especially if the Russian word was near the sound of the English word she was looking for, such as "familia" for "family". She would also drop most of the small words, like "the" and "a", and verb tenses and persons would go by the way as well. I was used to this as the Russian teachers at the Defense Language School in Monterey were all native speakers and when they got excited they would do the same thing.

"Are you okay Hon?"

"Yeah, I okay Poppa. He shooting at Mike, I think I made him miss cause I saw Mike moving after that when you gave him command."

"I hope so too. Lay still and keep your eyes open. I think we may have scared them away."

I waited about five minutes, if we stayed here they would go get help and we would be in trouble. The thing to do would be to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible.

"ALKALI, ALKALI!" This was the codeword for a bad site. Anyone could give it at any time for any reason, no questions asked, bug out now. Questions were for later. I picked the word because in the old west there would be alkali wells that looked like good water, but would kill you if you drank from them. It seemed appropriate and no one was likely to say the word in conversation either.

"Move out Kat."

I jumped up and Kat stood up beside me. "NO Poppa Mick, I want to find them and kill them all!"

Stretch and Lani were up and running toward the vehicles. I couldn't see Mike but I could hear some movement from the other side of the goat so I hoped he was okay.

I grabbed Kat by the arms and pulled her in to me. "That's not my job Katrinka, getting you and the team to safety is. Now get into the track or I'll tie you up and when we get somewhere safe I'll blister your butt for disobeying me. NOW MOVE!" I dropped her back down and as she turned away in confusion I swatted her ass and nudged her to follow Stretch.

The goat was already moving as we climbed into the track and I goosed the old girl to follow it. We headed northeast, and after about 15 minutes Lani slowed down and pulled over to the side of the dirt road we were on. I pulled up behind her and signaled to Stretch to go see what was up. I got out and watched the road behind us.

Debra came up beside me, "Mike has a hole in his left arm. It doesn't look too bad, but Lani stopped to bandage it. I'm going to trade places with him when she is done. Are we going to a hide site or a jamming site?"

"The mission is still on, get us a working site."

"Got it." She trotted back to the goat.

A couple of minutes later Rodriguez came over and we got into the track. He leaned over and gave Kat a big kiss, "Thanks Kat, you made him miss and saved me. I saw the movement out of the corner of my eye, then you shot him and he jerked before he shot too. He was aiming right at me. It hurts like hell right now, but I'll be okay and I can still shoot."

The goat moved out and there wasn't time to hear more as I stomped the gas to follow.

We had learned, and when we got to the next site we did a quick perimeter check before firing up the system. I made sure that Mike was okay to patrol before I jumped into the hut. I also made sure that I took the time to give Kat a big hug.

"I love you Sweetie, and I don't want to take a chance with your safety. It probably wasn't even the same men."

"I know Sergeant Mick, I love you too Poppa."

"Hey Lani, call the other teams, and if they aren't already moving, get them to scram. We took too long getting here and we can't leave them up for so long. Inform platoon about our incident and Sergeant Rodriguez's injury."

"Will do Sarge."

Back in the hut Stretch and I were floundering. None of the nets on the air were the ones we had been targeted against. We had to do our own analysis and determine which units were being effective against our folks. I wanted to find artillery nets active behind the enemy lines; I would try to hamper their efforts as much as I could. Stretch found an arty net in just a few minutes and after listening to a couple transmissions I told her to take over the controller's call sign. Without RDF reports we had to use the log periodic and adjust the azimuth for the best reception before transmitting. As Deb started talking I switched one of the transmitters to a frequency just barely off of the one she was using. I sent recordings of last night's traffic over that frequency with just enough power to block all but Deb's talk to the outlying units. It sounded like bleedover to everyone on that frequency and soon they were raising hell about the phantom net. The controller tried to switch channels, but I used the third transmitter on him didn't let the outlying units hear the new frequency. Debra then had the guns change to a freq she picked and as her last act as commander, ordered them to pack up and move to the rear. I kept the controller off the net until the others were gone; then I gave it a couple of minutes and shut down. We had been here long enough.

I jumped out of the hut, "Hey Lani, time to go. Are the other teams back up yet?"

"Yeah they are. They are both on targets of opportunity. Tom says none of the original targets are there any more. I don't know what you were doing, but Johnson couldn't stop laughing when he was talking to me."

"I'll tell you about it later. Right now let's get out of here."

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