Do you know about the Chant? He's on the side bar. He started a series this week, might be short, might go awhile, who knows. But it struck a chord with me. It's a subject I was intensely interested in back in the late 70's early 80's. It started a life long search for information and skill. It is as much a driver for my desire to be competent at all the mechanical things I know as anything else.
It was a MAJOR milepost when I saw Red Dawn at the theater. I was already reading the paper every day, watching the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. The premise of the movie seemed entirely possible. It opened my eyes to where I lived as a possible battle field.
The US military at that time were barely coming out of the deep depression of the abandoned victory in VietNam that the Nixon resignation had precipitated. The abandonment of our treaty with South VietNam upended the victory after Linebaker II demonstrated our ability and prowess. 11 days to cripple an enemy the previous administration just farted around with. Prowess that at least, once an utterly corrupt president quit micromanaging the war for the benefit of his patrons. It also showed how ignorant AF brass had become with the political task masters they had previously. It should be pretty familiar reading as it mirrors the same political party's latest international abandonment / terrorist resupply mission. I wish we could just look back and learn something from the past once in a while.
OAFS story sparked some thing in me, and I had to write it down, so it would leave me alone. It's below the fold if you care to sample it. It may be some lumpy oatmeal, it might pique your interest. Let me know either way. It's hard work. And what OAFS did with the D-DAY serial was some real hard work. Just the amount of effort that went into this little short story proved that to me.
Edit: Potentially Disturbing Content Below the Fold. To the combat vet that this hit too close to home too: I am terribly sorry that I didn't think to post a warning.
Untitled. All rights reserved.
“I don’t know Sarge, I don’t like it.” The scout was
whispering after exhaling most of his air out to be as quiet as
possible. Things in the AO had been spicier than they were
expecting. 300 yards away, almost on the same plane, a light
tactical vehicle was in the ditch. It’s bed high up in the air on
one wheel, while the cab was down almost at knee level. There were
skid marks on the light paved road. The left front must’ve
blown out. But there was no odor of explosives or evidence of a trap.
Casualties were around the truck but this just felt wrong. The sun
had faded, and most of the light was deepening purple. The flat land
around the truck was featureless. Like a table cloth with grass just
barely a foot high and browned by the heat of the late fall dry
spell. The LTV was on a slight rise, and the road was a few feet above
the surrounding terrain.
“Me either, but we
have to check it out. Graves registration was due back a few hours
ago. There has been no contact since 1750. They are overdue. What are those
5 little fires private?”
small pots, grandad told me about smudge pots they used as flares
back in the old days… Kinda looks like what he described. I see one
guide strip hanging but the rest are those pots. Maybe they ran out of
real flares or guide strips… They are around the site where the strips
“Okay, lets move
up… slow and quiet.” The 5 men advanced while the other 4
provided flank security and overwatch. They had heard about the
ambush up country a day or so ago.
After surveying the
scene, it was apparent that graves registration had been onsite. The
bodies were laid out in order, covered per regulation and a tag in
every right bootlace with the name and rank of each KIA. Two sand
buckets with shovels were the proper distance from the makeshift
flares. Someone knew their fire watch. Definitely a squared away
graves reg op, but where were they?
Without much more
than a wispy “pffft”, the silenced PCP air rifle that Clayton’s
dad gave him last Christmas spoke. The glass “flare” in the
middle errupted into an expanding fireball! The two closest men
from the patrol burst into flame! Sarge moved quickly to
the nearest sand bucket and threw it onto the burning, screaming men.
The bottom third of the sand, soaked in gasoline and diesel, ignited
two more men, and sealed the fate of the first two. Other flares
errupted, bathing the accident scene in errie dancing shadows that
provided confusion to the already chaotic mess. There were no
targets to see through the black smoke. Nothing but two roasting
men, twisting as they cooked, and two others trying to roll out their
burning uniforms while Sarge stood transfixed by his lethal attempt
to assist. What had just happened was too hard to comprehend, and
he just stood there, clanked up, motionless.
“Worked a treat, Clayton. Just like we figured.” The two shadows eased back down a little crease in the terrain. The fold in the field wasn’t discernible until you were on top of it. They had constructed a small fan of dead grass with a painted space blanket behind it. That allowed them to mask their retreat… Just more dancing shadows, oozing like ink into the deepening night…. “Linky, you did good on that spotting scope. I wasn’t sure we could make a shot that far. I wish dad had been here to see that. I think he’d have been surprised.” Clayton’s dad had disappeared after being arrested several weeks back.
The first ambush
from Troop 409’s oldest Eagles was in the books. They spent 3 days
bellying back to home plate. And Scott, their scoutmaster with the missing
leg and eye from his tour in OEF, debriefed them and drew up the
AAR for the next training session.
the 4 men of the
rear security detachment stared at the flickering fire, the black
silhouette of the sergeant was stone still against the slowly dying
The pincer move by
the irregulars rolled up the security detachment without a shot, and
they left with their prisoners as quickly as they arrived. Moving
off the line of the military squads approach, the team hustled the
captives as fast as they could move them. 500 yards farther, a large
patch of wild plum bushes created a natural boma. The men were
pushed into the middle of the bramble through a curved path.
Rapidly, the prisoners were relieved of their uniforms. Those were
sacked up and carried off. The two irregulars tasked with the
intelligence portion of the raid quickly identified a likely man,
and they moved off with him. That left the three unfortunates and
the last of the snatch team.
“You know, if
they’d let us operate like this in the valley back in Helmand, we’d
have rolled up the resistance in a couple months.” Henry had been
10th Mountain, 7th BCT during OEF. The snatch
team were all ex- servicemen. Most had seen multiple tours. “Yup… I separated after my tour in ‘09, after the 172nd hand-jammed their
reports and stayed at the COP for their last 4 months, I figured I was
on borrowed time. Didn’t figure I’d see this mess so close to
Miller’s Well had
been dry for decades. The water table had lowered after the
irrigation wells were installed in the 40’s. Everyone around had
warned their kids, “Don’t uncover the dry well at the old Miller
homestead.” Playing in the field, and picking wild plums with
their folks had been a natural pastime in the years leading up to…..
The three prisoners
were drugged and severely injured by the drop into the dry well. The
fall was padded by the graves registration team that were lying on
the bottom. Their tour was over. The stars disappeared as the tin
was replaced and the dirt spread back over it. 60 minutes later the
team was past the shelter belt 2 miles west, and scattered to the
winds. Monitoring their back trail added days to their return home.