This story is about an upcoming invasion. The participants are gathering for a pre-invasion shake down; a question and answer session in front of a number of top Pentagon officials. There is nothing very unusual about this mission until the individual task force members are introduced. These highly technical and specialized missions always require the 'cream of the crop' when it comes to personnel, but normally that elite group is limited to this years crop.
There was only one General in the room, so this 4 Star must be the top officer who I report to: "Staff Sergeant Murphy reporting as ordered, Sir."
"At ease Sergeant. Let's step away from the conference table so we can get away from all the chatter. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em. How was your trip?"
Begging the Generals pardon, Sir. Trip? I'm not sure what the General is referring to.
"Relax Sergeant, it's just an expression, take a seat. Do you know who I am?
No Sir. I had to check that insignia on your unique uniform to even recognize your unit, Sir. Every man here is a stranger to me.
"Very well. We're here for a top-secret mission briefing, you are to be part of that mission. Shortly, all of these officers will get their first look at the details of this upcoming invasion. You and a few others will fill them in on general invasion tactics. I read your file, splendid record; platoon leader with the 90th, served with General Patton; then Normandy on D-Day, the Argonne, and the Battle of the Bulge. Three Purple-Hearts, Silver and Bronze Star, and the Medal of Honor. Frozen feet, trench-foot, gangrene, did you lose any toes?"
No sir! If I might speak frankly? The European doctors talked like I might lose the entire left foot, but the American doctors in Belgium saved it. Those European doctors were totally overwhelmed.
"Right, well, I'm glad you got by without amputations. You obviously got your '6Stroke4440', but your file doesn't indicate where or when?
I'm sorry sir, but I have no recollection of what a '6Stroke4440' might be.
"Well wake up sergeant, you're here aren't you? How do you think your transfer came about? What did you do to.? Whoa, Whoa, wait a minute, hang loose, I keep forgetting you late arrivals haven't been briefed yet.
"Am I to assume you have no idea why you were recalled, you do realize that you are once again on "Active Duty" status? I sure hope your last active duty wasn't 1945. Do you have any current papers or orders?
No Sir! I was told to report to the top officer at this operations gathering.
"OK, take a seat Sergeant; I have some new orders for you. I guarantee this assignment's orders will be unlike any you have been given before, let me finish before you ask any questions, and as strange as these orders will seem to you, you certainly will have questions.
"First of all, this is beyond "TOP SECRET"! What you are about to hear was never said, and these 'non-orders' stay in this room, do you understand? If you wish for me to continue, you are in, there is no backing out once you are privilege to the dynamics of this event. A yes and I go on. A no means you are excused, no problem. Your first and final call, but it must be made right now, name it"
Yes, I'm ready for action; I'm in, thank you Sir.
"OK. We have selected just a few of the very best combat veterans for a special mission. Let's say the 'Cream of the Crop'. We are using a rather different method of appropriating the active combatants; we're going to great lengths to make sure we have the very best personnel that are available.
You may not remember, but you were issued a 6stroke4440 certification. Once this was approved by the Chief of Staff, it put you in the 'USA Century '6' Squad, 44th Ready Division, 40th Viper Unit'. You are about to be part of an elite unit, a combination of GI's like no other in the history of warfare.
"Now, as far as Washington is concerned, this unit, the soldiers that make it up and any directives for a mission like this one never existed. It's conceivable that every Geneva and international peace accord could be violated, but you don't care because you weren't involved, right?
"many of the troops will be wearing different uniforms, and some of you will be in street clothes or working in utility workmen uniforms. In fact, not all of the commando's involved will be GI's or even U.S. citizens. If captured by the enemy, the U.S. government will NOT acknowledge your orders, they will claim you are a renegade, and they will offer you no assistance or recourse.
"Mission timing will be of the utmost importance, yet you will have no opportunity to practice or attempt to coordinate these battlefield activities in a dry run. Your individual orders will arrive, you will commit them to memory, and then you will be on your own to complete your portion of this greatest of all time overthrows and capturings.
"You most likely will never have heard of the materials and methods used for completion of this raid. All the materials and the munitions are going to be foreign, the fusing methods will be completely unheard of, and the new explosives will amaze you with their workability and dynamics. Your orders will be in great detail, giving you an itinerary scheduled right down to the minute, listing names and places you may have never heard of.
"Now get this, there is no Commanding Officer for this operation, each man will be responsible and accountable to himself, your fellow members of this mission, and of course, to your country.
"I will tell you that most of the squad will never see, or be exposed to any other unit member. There will be approximately 145 men and women required to complete this operation, most with less than a 40% chance of getting out of this thing alive. I won't kid you, your specialty, even with your expertise in explosives has never been considered a low risk assignment, so HQ is giving you less than a 20% survival chance.
"You will have one slight advantage over the rest of the team members, you're not working alone. Because of the massive amount of materials that need to be taken out, namely two 12 story buildings, you're going to work with another explosive expert, a former Army corporal, now a civilian.
"I happen to know that this man is a convicted felon who was scheduled for execution, but he can exonerate himself by completing this mission, and of course, by keeping himself alive.
"One aspect of your assignment is to watch your partner. He might very well come up with some wild talk about the U. S. government. He will certainly bring up issues that you have never heard of, but don't let that bother you. Do remember he has nothing to lose by fleeing, so if you suspect this man is not going to fulfill his portion of the operation, you are instructed to eliminate this potential source of failure.
"Are we clear about that?"
"Some of the other mission members are waiting outside my office, but before I introduce them to you and my staff, I want to update you on a few more aspects of the mission.
"First, you can never talk about this operation. Second, there have been many improvements in explosives and 'TER', or timed energy release devices since you were last involved. Even though your partner is a civilian with no rank, he will instruct and act as lead. I want you to pay attention to this guy when he explains the new techniques and fusing methods. This guy can make a bomb out of the goodies found in the average medicine cabinet, he is good! Any questions so far?"
I'm somewhat confused, but please continue Sir.
"OK. If you demolition people should make it through this mission, we have a special field guide to lead you out of the enemy territory, understood? This guide may seem like a back woods hick, but he's the best, he'll get you through some rough terrain and across the border, so pay attention to him.
"Once you are outside the enemy country's borders, we have an aircraft lined up to remove all of you from the combat zone. My Aide is about to announce your team partners: you, the civilian, your guide, and your evacuation specialist, but remember to ignore the guides speech and outdated uniform, and don't stop to ponder the equipment sent for your rescue, just listen to the pilots instructions and move out. You may have never seen aircraft like it in the past, but it will do the job extremely well.
"You are going to be asked questions by the Military Board, I expect you to remain at attention, to speak with respect, but only talk in general terms about explosives, your phase of the mission. Conduct yourself in a military fashion at all times, do you understand? Don't volunteer any more than you."
Attention! General Schwartzkopf will now address the officers, General Schwartzkopf.
At ease Gentlemen. We have assembled some members of Operation "Osama Bin Laden. An outline of this mission will be forthcoming and then these participants will be available for some brief mission explanations.
You will be allowed to ask general questions, but specifics detailing the time, date, and other orders will not be allowed.
To my far left, Laser logistical Technician - Operation Desert Storm, Reserve Captain Carl Sagan.
Next is a veteran of the Normandy invasion and Medal of Honor recipient - Sergeant Audey Murphy - demolition.
"To his right is Sergeant Alvin York - field guide.
"And to my immediate left is Brigadier General Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager - Transportation and evacuation Specialist.
"Next is Former Army Corporal Timothy McVeigh - demolition advisor.
"These troops are just a fraction of the."
(C)opyright 2007 Gary Grenier All Rights ReservedSend us your comments on this article