Book 2 Chapter 182

I knew Frank and the Generals and Secretary of State Amos Dean would be my first visitors. Frank and Amos were waiting for me with a handful of papers.

            Being a lady, ”Which one of you wants to go first?”

            Amos said, ”I’ll go first; I have another meeting I need to go to.”

            ”The Iranian Ambassador assigned to Pakistan and the Iranian Ambassador assigned to Afghanistan met the Iranian Ambassador assigned to Iraq at Dubai. They requested safe passage and escort as instructed. They flew over multiple major cities and military bases before landing in Tehran.”

            ”The Air Force supplied four F16s to fly escort. They landed and stayed on the ground at Tehran for four hours. Surveillance aircraft covered the meetings and captured their attempts to contact multiple individuals by phone.”

            ”After an hour they were met by about a dozen individuals. Those individuals carried them to the remains of the parliament and the IRG compounds and several other sites that had been bombed.”

            ”Our US Ambassador to UAE met them when they landed. There was a short conversation but the group would not discuss anything to do with surrendering the government,” he said.

            ”Ok, then they aren’t convinced yet,” I said.

            ”Keep me informed if you hear anything,” I added.

            Frank placed out the papers and pictures.

            ”The people that met the Ambassador were observed going to a residence. There was no way to monitor what they said.”

            ”What we do know is several left the residence and traveled to a large compound just over the Pakistan border. We have been watching the compound for a while in association with other Pakistani terrorist groups.”

            ”Kill one pack of rats and more take their place within hours,” I said.

            ”Give the locations to the Navy. When the bombing resumes, put a couple missiles in the house and enough in the compound to do the job,” I said.

            ”Bombing is going to resume?” General Ingram had just walked in.

            ”Yes and send in the next group of troops and equipment and keep moving forward. Follow up with more as long as the logistics and supplies can keep up,” I said.

            ”We can send forty thousand more then we have to let logistics catch up,” the General said.

            ”While you are letting logistics catch up for the foot soldier, keep the Navy and Air Force hammering them,” I said.

            ”Bring me the list of restricted targets. It’s time to reduce the list and be a more aggressive,” I said.

            I went through the restricted list and approved fifteen types of government buildings and establishments to be bombed at midnight. There were a total of seven hundred new targets for the Navy and Air Force. While some of them could be military targets in a guerrilla type war, they weren’t very important as a large military target but their destruction would be demoralizing to the population. All of them were close to sizable population centers.

            ”The pamphlets told the people what was going to happen if they didn’t surrender. Make sure you drop more MOABs and closer to the population centers, time for shake rattle and roll part two,” I said.

            General Ingram nodded his head as acknowledgment and just smiled.

Politics was going to capture a couple of hours out of my day. The party leader had called wanting an emergency meeting. It was scheduled for after lunch.

            Technically I was the party leader as President but I had shoved it off onto the Vice Chairman of the party. I assumed he wanted me to pull in the reins over Iran. I was wrong.

            I worked with Vice Chairman Howard Workman to schedule the fundraisers and he attended all of them. He was a straight shooter; if he didn’t like an idea he said so and aggressively argued his position. He would yield if facts proved otherwise.

            Since there was no impending leader of the conservative party with the stalemate in the candidates until after the convention, the liberal party was making hay of the situation.

            What they were doing was being portrayed as televised debates between the two presidential candidates. The dates had already been chosen months ago by the parties. The TV slots from all networks were approved and paid. Both conventions were to have been over and the candidate from each chosen.

            The liberal party then changed the date of their convention to a month earlier. The attendees were notified by mail and there was no public announcement until a week before the opening day of the convention. All the posturing and date movements were done to reduce the number of attendees and have a closed convention.

            They were using a blacked out chair with an off screen voice as the conservative candidates. They had molded all the sound bites and promises at whistle stops by all the candidates as the position of the party.

            It was a well-planned  and well-choreographed propaganda event for the liberal party.

            The party chairman didn’t want to use the candidates because they had been so stubborn about deciding the leader. He was furious they would not come to some agreement.

            No matter whom he asked, the others would react like you had thrown a bucket of fire ants on them. The back biting and bickering issues were getting worse and starting to hurt the party.

            We talked about the mess – and that was all one could call it – before he flat out asked if I would represent the party at the next so called debate instead of the empty chair and programmed voice.

            It would not be announced until an hour before show time that I was going to be there. In my mind I was sure the liberal candidate would refuse to debate under those circumstances.

            Our real goal was to force him to refuse to debate, thereby throwing a chock in front of their smooth rolling wheel. Any way he tried to get out of the debate could only make him look bad.

            Was he afraid to debate me because I was a woman? Was he afraid to debate me because I was President? The chair had all the angles figures out like a chess match.

            The other change up was with the questions. Instead of the programmed questions that they obviously had prepared and rehearsed for, they were going to have the audience write questions on 3×4 note cards and then choose the best ones. The liberal candidate and I would each get a set time to answer.

            I figured I could at least hold my own after all the fund raisers and press conferences I had done. It was set up for Saturday night.

            I had four days to prepare. I called my research group and had them do a complete search on his days as a Representative and Senator.

            I called Robert and had him to do a private background search – it would dig in places where to government people would not go. Robert was also going to have someone pull all public statements from over the decades and the present campaign statements and positions for this race.

            I had barely hung up the phone with Robert when Troy came in with Marty Coeburn, director of the FBI. Marty had the latest update on the trials that were taking place in California for those arrested. The DOJ was getting 95 percent convictions of those that went to trial – with heavy fines and jail terms to boot.

            Another thirty percent were pleading guilty to avoid the trial judge and accepting nearly the same penalty.

            ”In thirty more days all those arrested will have their day before the court. Then after that, the appeals process starts,” Marty said.

            Marty and I talked for thirty minutes. It seemed like months since he and I had just a few minutes to talk about anything that was not a fire needing put out by one or both of us.

            I asked what the FBI had for records on the liberal candidate.

            ”Nothing that you cannot get through public sources. With Roberts’s group doing the looking, I doubt there will be a grain of sand that wasn’t turned in his investigation. If they thought the FBI was investigating a candidate, Congress would act like it had been constipated for a month.”

            ”I’m sure that Robert can find anything that might be helpful,” I said.

            I let the conversation drift from there. It didn’t matter because Robert had hacked the FBI’s system long ago and left a permanent backdoor to get in any time he wanted.

            Just when I thought I was done for the day, General Ingram was back in with more updates.

            “All the troops we have talked about moving to the front have been notified and are in the process of packing up for departure. I want to know your thoughts on calling up the National Guard, we can use them for the expanded logistics we are going to need and to build prison camps and staff them,” he said.

            ”I thought it took months to call up the Guard,” I said.

            ”The call up was not the problem, it was the recurrent training needed to make them combat ready. Using them for logistics and guards should not take a whole lot of training,” he said.

            ”It took other Presidents weeks to make the decision because they were worried about the politics and tried to maneuver through the minefield. With your ‘I don’t give a rats ass about politics’ attitude it should go a lot smoother,” he said.

            He was smiling broadly when he said it.

            ”Well, the politics don’t worry me any. Get a list together of the units you want, the States they are located in and what I need to do to activate them,” I said.

            He handed me a list and the orders necessary to activate two hundred and forty transportation and military police units in thirty eight states.

            It was a total of four thousand men and ladies. As I looked through the list, I could see trouble coming. Several were very liberal states with extremely liberal governors who thought they were world leaders instead of state governors.

             Let the fun begin!

            The orders I signed into effect were under Title 10 ‘Presidential Reserve Call Up’ and it limited service to two hundred and seventy days.

            The order that I signed was a forty eight hour notice to deploy. Each state National Guard unit had a General of some level at its helm that answered to the Governor. Each Governor and General were faxed the activation orders.

            ”Do you have all the elements in place to get these men and equipment to Iran?” I asked General Ingram.

            ”Yes, we have our favorite contractor in the loop. What they can’t carry, the Air Force C17s will,” he said and then smiled.

            Lorrie’s aviation department was getting a work out. The twenty five C5s and the ten passenger configured 747s must be flying around the clock.

            The Congressional chief bean counter watchdog was going to have a fit when those numbers hit the tally sheet.

            There were a lot more questions I needed to ask Lorrie the next time we talked.

            I went to the private dinner room for supper before I called my mates -eating alone again. Things had been so busy at home that no one was coming over for the rest of the week. I would see them on Saturday.

            Robert was sending me information on the liberal candidate as the assigned investigative team found it. I would spend my night reading. The party vice chair had sent all the questions from the two previous fake debates – more reading.

            I decided to first spend an hour in the gym. After a nice hot shower and in pajamas with a tee shirt, I settled into the executive recliner and started reading.

            It was midnight when I crawled under the covers with my mind spinning. I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew with this debate.

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Book 2 Chapter 181

It was 1600 when the congressional people decided they had heard enough. I was tired of the double talk as it was. It’s funny how many different ways someone can ask the same question and expect a different answer.

            I was surprised when a JBG helicopter landed outside the White House. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I walked out to it with several agents. It was a big helicopter – as big as or bigger than the luxury one we had at the Islands.

            All my mates were in it plus JJ, RJ, Takeo and Sara. Lorrie wanted to show off the new helicopter of which she had ordered several for the commercial leases.

            Marcy explained that they had decided to sell more of the diamonds from the mine. That, plus Pirates Bank ordered another shipment of gold bars and gold had gone up five hundred dollars an ounce since the last order. All that extra income needed off setting with deductible purchases.

            They had also purchased some land in Nebraska at Jeanna’s request. For the lack of a better term it was an inside bank job. It was next to Jeanna’s oil and natural gas dome property. Midwest Bank held the paper on it.

            It was a four thousand acre corn farm and according to seismic testing, there was no oil on it. When news broke of oil with producing test wells on Jeanna’s massive property, investment firms from Wall Street went crazy buying property in the area while paying horrendous prices. Now they were panic selling. It seems there was just one large dome in the county and Jeanna owned it.

            As usual Jeanna had a plan to siphon off part of the oil through the new property as oil found on our property by angle drilling. The goal behind that was to transfer more of Jeanna’s wealth to Marcy without paying the massive income taxes that would happen if she died and left it to Marcy in an estate or gave the money as a gift.

            The deal was so liked by our and Jeanna’s tax professionals that angle drilling had already started. I wondered if that made us oil tycoons or oil barons. Would it be sold as new oil or sold as old deferred oil – it made a big difference on the tax game. Sold as new, oil had high taxes on it, sold as old oil was nearly no tax. Either one required offsetting investments or if I remember correctly, it would have to be in the oil or energy industry. Either way I expected red flags flying very soon.

            I was sure as we got into the living area I would find out a lot more about the deal and I was sure there was more. But first we went to the kitchen to have dinner.

            Marcy covered the conversation about the oil deal with Jeanna and then expanded. The Cameroon security deal was in its infancy; JBG was clearing the right of ways and building security outposts. Along the way the security contract was broadened from just the pipe line security to refineries and oil terminals and more.

            When the contract was first signed there were just a few hundred JBG security personnel there. Now there were over a thousand and soon to be more. But there was still one problem. None of the major producers – because of the terrorist and kidnappers – were willing to be currently involved in production – drilling oil wells in the out lands.

            Black and Bear floated the crazy idea about JBG showing confidence in our security personnel and its application to the area by getting involved in production, transport, and the refineries. All of it was there waiting to be repaired, completed or started.

            The leadership in Cameroon thought it was an excellent idea. If we had more investment into the arrangement than just security, we could not walk away from protecting it and that would make it a company priority.

            I wondered why they thought we were just going to walk away if things were to heat up?

            I was sure Black and Bear, Jenny, Marcy and Jenna were in on the expanded negotiations. When all was said and done, they had rolled the dice for one thousand acres in the prime oil region which included surface, mineral, gas and oil rights, right of way to the pipelines and full owner ship of the Julin-arco refinery.

            Julin-arco refinery was a nearly finished refinery where all construction had stopped after multiple kidnappings and murder of construction workers and executives. Nearly a hundred executives and key employees had been kidnapped and/or killed. The oil companies threw in the towel and just walked away. The government of Cameroon now owned the uncompleted refinery.

            JBG had to supply security for two other operating refineries in the same industrial area, security for the pipelines (the original contract) for twenty years which was ten more years than the original contract.

            Twenty years is a long time in third world security business. Most of the employees we had that worked there had served ten years in the military; a few had gone into the service right out of high school did twenty and were in reasonable shape to do ten for us.

            There was a problem with old men and women – we slowed down, we weren’t as sharp in the jungle, we missed signs and clues of the enemy. At that point in life most had families and the idea to give your life for a job wasn’t that appealing any more – there was too much to lose.

            That was one reason countries preferred assassins with a terminal illness. They wanted big money up front to leave to their families. They would take ridiculous chances to carry out the contract even if it meant they were killed; they were dying anyhow. All in for the money.

            That was one thing that worried me about the Iranian bounty on me and my family. All they had to do was find the right person that would throw the will to live aside for the money.

            Twenty year security contracts meant a high turnover rate along the way. Also, what did you do with the ones who said they didn’t want to do that anymore? There were only so many mall cops required.

            We knew nothing about the oil business except we used a lot of it. But we knew two people that did. Dan Ortiz of Brazilian Mining and Manufacturing, and G.W. Mclintock. Both agreed it was one heck of a risk but the area had promise of vast wealth – if you could afford to take the risk.

            My question was: how many people it would take to secure all we would be responsible for? What would the cost be for twenty years, hundreds of millions of dollars and more?

            Jeanna was friends with McClintock and I was as sure as the sunrise that he was the advisor to Jeanna on the oil deal. He owned several refineries in Texas so he had to have people that knew how to run them. I advised Marcy to have Jeanna call him, the refinery in Cameroon needed a thorough evaluation and somebody to make it run.

            Hell, we needed somebody that knew how to operate drill rigs. But then there was Texas – where money moved everything. For the right money wildcatters and riggers would walk off one job to another for a few dollars more or for the promise of a fist full of dollars as a bonus.

            It was in the girls’ domain now and I could not help them much in any way. Marcy seemed to have a lot of confidence and I was sure she was getting help.

            The family was going to stay the night. We spent the night talking about business – something I shouldn’t have done – but I did. We talked about the six men JBG lost on Tuesday night and the arrangements for them and their families.

            We talked about the oil deal in a lot more detail with more facts. The biggest fact was it would take two months to get the equipment located there checked out, parts rounded up and repairs made. There was also the issue of getting a new drilling rig there.

            There was no code among drillers in third world countries. A drill rig sitting any length of time soon became scavenged for hard to get parts in the wilderness. Simply buying a new or used complete rig would save lots of time and headache.

            It wasn’t just drill rigs, but the de-sanders, mud pumps, generator sets, massive air compressors and tons of quick gel to seal the bore hole. Thousands of feet of drill rod and well casing needed to be delivered to the site. Then there was the blowout prevention equipment.

            Another was a bunk house and cafeteria. Once a deep oil well was started the job ran 24/7 until it was finished. Each well was a huge job and a well that came up dry was a loss of millions of dollars. I had no idea how many million.

            I did learn that BM&M had completed a complete site survey and all the necessary tests to confirm the prospects of underground oil reservoirs. When they finished I felt better. I was worried that there would be nothing but dry wells and JBG would still be stuck for twenty years of security.

            We talked for over an hour about politics, the last of the fund raisers we were going to and the convention. Then we talked about the cluster that was the party and the four hard heads who were unwilling to budge.

            My phone signaled a text, it was the night shift for the generals. They said I needed to come down for updates before turning in.

            While my mates were getting ready for bed, I went to the war room to see what was up.

            It was well past midnight in the gulf. The Navy and Air Force had vented my fury at the Iranians. The heavy bombing campaign stopped with the last MOAB dropped at 2359.

            Ten C130s started dropping millions of pamphlets suggesting that Iran surrender unconditionally to end the bombing and further destruction. The back side had instructions on how to approach American troops, surrender and not get shot.

            Surrender messages were being broadcast on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq radio beamed at the Iranians. Time would tell if it had any effect on them.

            My mates were waiting for me, the little ones were sleeping soundly. We were intimate and quiet; it was a relaxing and pleasing night.

            At 0600 we were eating breakfast; my family wanted to be back at the office at 0700 to get things started. They had a lot to do again with the oil and security mix going on. I was happy that they were considering putting the oil business in a separate division.

            Andy and Paul Drake were back from the Middle East. There was a lot for Vicky and Ching Lee to discuss. There was a big meeting planned with them and Black and Bear, along with video meeting with Dan Ortiz of BM&M and GW McClintock at 0800.

            My mates left and I went to Oval Office to begin my day.

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Book 2 Chapter 180

            The kitchen sent up breakfast to go with the pot of coffee. I looked at the updates that were on my desk. The CIA had a folder of satellite pictures – the Chinese were sending one of their carrier task forces into the Indian Ocean. The intercepted messages indicated it was on a port call to its base in Djibouti. It would arrive in the area in a couple days.

            It was probably going there to monitor how effective multi-carrier operations were run. They were far too late to help Iran.

            At 0730 the generals were in with the latest reports. They were given by Marine General Gorman and the Chief of Naval Operations.

            ”At noon on Saturday twenty San Antonio class, eight Wasp class and four America class amphibious landing and assault ships landed twenty five thousand Marines on Iranian territory. The landings were backed by two hundred and fifty A10s and Cobra helicopters. There was little opposition and we immediately began taking prisoners,” General Gorman said.

            ”The amphibious assault ships are transferring the twenty thousand army troops, tanks and trucks from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to Iran to expand the front. Logistics and supply lines are keeping up. Causalities have been very light,” the Chief of Naval Operations said in closing.

            ”Twenty thousand from Germany and England will be arriving tomorrow and Wednesday. The deals you made with King Elaud to allow so much equipment to be prepositioned for war games has been a Godsend,” Army Four Star General Mike Johnson said.

            I asked if the map room had been converted into a usable map for this operation.

            ”Yes it has and it is being kept up to date, if you would like to look at it,” General Ingram said.

            ”Yes I would,” I replied.

            I looked at the progress the troops were making and was satisfied so far.

            ”Are we still on track to drop leaflets tonight and stand down the heavy bombing for twenty four hours to allow them to have a discussion about a surrender?”

            “That heavy bombing stand down is not to affect localized ground operations,” I said

            ”Yes that is still the plan,” General Ingram replied.

            ”I want another major missile launch by the Navy and bombings by both the Air Force B21s and B52s MOAB and Seismic before midnight. I want them shaking before the calm,” I said.

            ”The next step I need to put in play is the diplomatic effort,” I added.

            I called Secretary of State Dean and asked him to come to the White House and bring his Iranian experts.

            An hour later we were in the Oval Office writing out the documents of surrender that would be offered to Iran’s diplomatic UN mission when they were ready. Another document that we worked on were the directives included if they did surrender.

             Secretary Dean made the calls to the UN to put the process in play. He requested a video meeting with the Secretary General of the UN Manuel Santos, the Iranian delegation led by Bahar Farzad, and the US Ambassador to the UN Victor Mason.

            A copy of the pamphlet written the three dominant languages that were being dropped tonight on the major Iranian cities was faxed to the US Ambassador as was the surrender document. That document was simple and straight forward.

            It took an hour for all the people at the UN to assemble in a room that had the ability to video conference.

            ”Good afternoon Secretary Santos, I’m glad you could make this meeting. I asked for this meeting to announce that there will be twenty four hour suspension in the heavy bombing campaign against Iranian military and Iranian government installations starting at midnight tonight. ”

            ”During the lull the pamphlets will be dropped advising the Iranian people and the government to unconditionally surrender and the process for Iranian soldiers to surrender to American troops.”

            ”If at the end of twenty four hours they – the government – have not chosen to surrender, the bombing will resume with bigger and more powerful bombs and current restricted sites will become first strike targets,” I said.

            ”Iran will never surrender. I have received no word that any serious damage has been done to my country. Centuries of resistance to outside armies cannot be swept away in six days. I do not believe you,” Ambassador Farzad said.

            ”If you want to visit what’s left of Iran I will arrange safe passage with escort for you. But such a trip from New York will not be completed before the bombing resumes.”    

            ”I would suggest you seek the assistance of your Pakistani Ambassador to make the trip and give you a report. The same offer of safe passage with escort will apply. The international airport at Tehran is closed but one runway is still operational,” I said.

            ”You must extend the cessation of the bombing and begin negotiations to end this conflict,” Secretary Santos said.

            ”There is nothing to negotiate – there is only one solution that I will accept and that is for Iran to unconditionally surrender. The bombing will only be stopped twenty four hours.”

            ”In case you haven’t been made aware of it the ground assault has begun. We have forty thousand troops on the ground in southern Iran with twenty thousand arriving tomorrow. We control all territory below the thirtieth north parallel,” I said.

            ”I would suggest you get busy and make arrangements if you want another party to view the damage and report back to you. Notify the State Department to arrange safe passage or go through Ambassador Mason,” I said.

            ”From intelligence I believe that you – Ambassador Farzad – are the highest ranking individual of your government to survive. It will be your decision on how much punishment your nation and your people have to endure before you surrender,” I said.

            I looked around the room at the participants, ”Do any of you have anything you want to add?” I asked. There was no response.

            ”Twenty four hours it is,” I said and closed the window.

            ”Any questions, opinions or suggestions?” I asked of the group in my office. No one said anything so I assumed that they were on board with my plans.

            ”Where else do we have troops that we can draw from? I am of the opinion that there will be no surrender in the next week or so. I think it will take a bigger show of force,” I said.

            ”We will continue to draw out of the Europe bases then shift to Asian and Pacific bases,” the General said.

            ”Okinawa has been untouched; there are fifteen thousand rapid response troops there. Guam has six thousand. Contract 747s can carry four hundred at a time and by utilizing contract C5Ms, quite a lot of equipment can be carried with them,” General Ingram said.

            I didn’t need to read between the lines – the contract C5Ms were the fifteen JBG had. They could carry five hundred each but that long of a flight was not going to be comfortable.

            The contract 747s were the ten passenger versions that JBG had. All that together was eleven thousand five hundred.

            ”The rest can be carried on the C17s the Air Force has. We have been taking a lot of advance equipment to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the last two weeks. After carrying soldiers over there we are going to lose some planes to inspections,” Air Force General Hobart said.

            ”After the troops at Okinawa, where are the next available troops from?” I asked.

            ”South Korea. Those troops will be put on alert today. Alert notifies them to be prepared to ship out in forty eight hours,” General Ingram said.

            ”Good, because I think they will be needed. I think it will take a large presence before they realize resistance is futile,” I said.

            ”Has the next selection of targets for the MOABs been decided on?” I asked.

            ”Yes, several targets are repeat targets because of the size. There are also two targets that we wanted your position on. On the Iraq/Syrian border there are two Iranian built bases that may be populated with possibly Syrian, Iraq and possibly Turkish troops as well as Iranian. The Russians have pulled out their troops months ago,” General Ingram said.

            ”Whose flag is flying above it and what kind of traffic has been happening?” I asked.

            ”The Iranian flag is flying above it. There was a lot of traffic between Iran and the bases. There are also Chinese antiaircraft missile systems around the bases. There has been some evidence of Syrian traffic but none in the last few days,” General Ingram said.

            ”Have the Navy overload their systems with missiles. And then put a MOAB on each.  That will make all the equipment unusable for the insurgent groups in the area,” I said.

            ”Do it before the midnight stand down,” I said.

            I had the kitchen send lunch to my private dining room. I wanted some time to think. The document of surrender was still just an outline. The State Department people didn’t know what they were doing – it had been so long since any country was forced to unconditionally surrender.

            All they seemed to know was how to work a truce and a diplomatic withdraw of forces. They were wanting to use the same documents that had been used in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago and Vietnam decades ago. All they wanted to do change a few dates, names and places.

            I guess that all new diplomatic training was to continually give rather than  demand and hold your ground. And I will be damned if that was going to happen!

            I didn’t have time to worry about it today. I had a large group of Senators and Congressional people coming today. They were from the Armed services, foreign relations and intelligence committees. It was my afternoon to be in the hot seat explaining my developing military policy on Iran. I was sure there would be plenty of questions of what do I have in mind after Iran surrenders.

            I pissed them off with the opening statement, ”I remind everyone this meeting and all discussions, all materials and references to any and all materials are classified. There are ongoing discussions with the UN, Iran, Pakistan and others. Any leaks could jeopardize those talks. Now let’s get started,” I said.

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Book 2 Chapter 179

            Connie, Troy and the rest of my staff had been in the outer offices taking phone calls and making notes. When Frank and the generals left they came in with handfuls of notes and a fresh mug of coffee. It’s going to be that kind of morning, I thought.

            Connie grabbed all the notes from everyone and began to put them into their order of importance. On the top – needing immediate attention – was our UN ambassador; he was between a rock and a hard spot wanting guidance.

            Iranian aligned countries were screaming mad and were immediately pressing for a resolution condemning the US, but Ambassador Hinson vetoed it when it came before the executive committee – effectively killing it.

            When that failed they tried passing a resolution to force a cease fire and open negotiations; Russian Ambassador Diorama vetoed that one.

            I talked for thirty minutes with Ambassador Victor Mason making it clear he was to stop all UN actions detrimental to our military operation.

            I made other calls; one to President Orbatch, another to Prime Minister Attenborough. Then I followed up with Mexican President Martinez and Canada’s Prime Minister Turpin.

            At noon the first pictures out of Iran were published by a foreign journalist from Pakistan. They were of the destroyed IRG complex. There were others of the parliament ruins with fires still burning.

            After lunch the joint chiefs were back in with the latest pictures and updates. Everything was going as planned, with a few exceptions. The B52s and B21s had made more bombing runs on selected targets this morning.

            The carrier planes had destroyed another two hundred military trucks, twenty portable radar trucks and SAM missiles that were in transport. They also destroyed twenty hardened aircraft hangers. From all appearances all of Iran’s aircraft had been destroyed when the seismic bombs were dropped on the main air base. There were fifty very large hardened hangars there and all of them had collapsed.

            The days were busy and going by way too fast, too many meetings and too many critical decisions about too many little fires to put out that kept reigniting. Before I knew it – it was Friday afternoon and I was going home in an hour to spend a quiet weekend with my mates – I hoped. I was having the last meeting with the joint chiefs. The bombing campaign had been going on around the clock for three days.

            General Ingram began discussing ground operations. His argument was that since the bombing campaign was going so well that Iranian IRG units would be ill prepared to deal with a ground invasion.

            This morning’s targets for the MOAB had been four IRG bases and weapons storage sites, including the ones we had seen them stockpiling materials in the last few weeks. Two districts were now free of any military bases, warehouses, military posts or any workable military equipment. The Air Force was aggressively working in two more above 30N. For all intent and purposes the intelligence looked good.

            ”There are now one hundred additional A10s and that many more assault helicopters in Saudi Arabia and there were now ten amphibious landing ships with equipment waiting to be pressed into action,” he said to reinforce his position.

            ”That would be moving a lot faster than we had anticipated. That is in your ball park so it is your call. If you are comfortable with that, then do it,” I said.

            ”Has the State Department been working with you on the humanitarian needs after the fighting ends? If you are moving that fast, they better get on the ball,” I said.

            ”Yes they have. I think they maybe a little ahead of us in planning,” General Ingram said.

            At 1400 the news broke from NASA; the first manned flight to Mars had safely landed after the many months long trip. The six astronauts were to spend two weeks on the surface. Besides looking for alien life and water, they were to perform a series of test and work at completing several assembly tasks.   

            For six months NASA and Space XXX had been soft landing components for a simple Mars structure. For the lack of a better explanation it was a simple cross, a center section with four tubes to be bolted together. The site NASA chose was a nearly flat plain of hard rock.

            They were space age insulated and if the assembly plans worked in the near 1/3 gravity, they were to be part of the first permanent Mars station. The tubes had removable end caps so each tube could be extended and other sections added.

            The NASA news overshadowed the next piece of news out of Iran by the Pakistani news agency that the Supreme Leader Awad, Iranian President Marwan, the Vice President, the complete cabinet and the command structure of the IRG were all deceased. They were in a bunker under the parliament building when the MOAB was dropped on it.

            It was a known and tested fact that a MOAB was so powerful and consumed so much oxygen when it exploded that anyone in caves, bunkers or an underground facility with atmospheric vents would die an instant and horrible death from no oxygen and the effects of the massive pressure change. That was if the explosion didn’t get you first.

            That pressure change was like being thrust into the deepest ocean and then propelled instantly into outer space. It simply destroyed all the internal organs in a millisecond.

            To add insult to injury, a seismic bomb was later dropped leaving a crater one hundred feet deep, confirming where the bunkers were thought to be.

            That set off a political storm in several countries; Canada, France, Greece, the United States, the European Union – just to name a few countries that were home to exiled dissidents. Dissidents leaders and political expatiates that had left Iran to stay alive over the years suddenly thought it was time to claim their place as the leaders of Iran when the reconstruction started.

            They would soon get the message that there was no place for them going forward in Iran. But the most immediate threat was from Iraq.

            One of those was Imam El Afiad La Suder. He had played a major role in Iraqi politics for years and was the leader of Sunni tribes in Iraq. He had studied for years under Iran’s Supreme Leader Awad with the hopes of joining the Iraqi and Iranian Sunnis into a powerful coalition and replacing Awad when he died or stepped down.

            The rumor that Awad was dead was his ticket into power. By the end of the day he had convinced ten thousand die hard Sunni pilgrims to make the march to Tehran, form the new government and put him in place as the new supreme leader and be part of his rein.

            There was only one problem – the satellites had been spending overtime over Iraq and for good reason. The caravan headed from Baghdad to Tehran made its start at an Iraqi military base in the Sunni controlled sector. The diehard pilgrims were made up of mostly soldiers preparing to resist any political change and install their man as head of the Sunni’s.

            The drone cameras showed them loading cars and trucks with weapons, rocket propelled grenades, ammunition and IEDs

            I was packing up my portable office when General Ingram answered my call about the caravan headed to Tehran. I listened closely as he presented the options.

            ”I chose the second and third options together. As soon as the caravan is entirely in Iran, send two AC130J Spooky ll gunships to destroy the caravan then drop MOABs on it. Dead men tell no tales and make up no lies,” I said.

            ”Understood Ma-am,” the General said.

            The Spooky ll gunships were the latest upgrades on the original Spooky gunships used in Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Iraq war. The 7.62 dual mini guns and single 105 mm howitzer had been replaced with dual 105 mm howitzers and two Mark 44 Bushmaster ll 30 mm chain guns. They were the updated chain gun JBG fast ships had but 5 mm larger round. There were thousands of rounds on the plane for the guns.

            Marine One delivered me to Morton field – the Secret Service thought it would be better if I was seen making the location change in public. The Beast took me to Summers Lane where my family was waiting for me to join them for a seafood supper.

            I did not go to the public eateries now because the media was staking them out, trying to get pictures and maybe a question or two answered.

            Friday night and Saturday were great family time. My mates and I celebrated that Vicky and Marcy were both pregnant. They had both caught on the first try. Our family would soon be complete, our planning done years ago fulfilled. We would wait one more month and then announce it to the rest of family and the world.

            Saturday was relaxed and easy going. At noontime I received a text from General Ingram, ”It’s on and going according to plans. If something changes and you are needed I will call you.”

Air Force One was going to pick us up at Morton at 1600 and then fly to Phoenix for the fundraiser. Andrew had written a new get them excited speech. It was after midnight when we arrived home.

            Sunday morning I read the updates from General Ingram, the CIA and the DHS. The DHS was picking up more illegals coming across the Canadian border. I logged into the JBG site and looked at the activity logs for the security zone. Activity was on the increase there as well. I was willing to bet it was trouble makers responding to Tiam’s last messages.

            The former communications airways from Iran were now dead. Terrorist locations were still trying to contact Tiam and the General without getting any response back. I wondered if we were to setup a quick tower with all of the information we had collected for the last months, if we could make them believe that Tiam and the General were alive. Would it be possible to send them into a trap?

Robert and the CIA were back tracking all the sites trying to reach Tiam and the General. It would only be a matter of days until several declared themselves to be the new leaders.

            The real leader would be the one who provided funding for the satellite fighters. That meant a new round of kidnappings, hi-jacking, robberies and blackmail.

            Hopefully they would be negligent, stupid and dumb – allowing them to be found in the early stages.

            I finished just in time for breakfast. It was a great breakfast with all my immediate family. The talk across the table was about family and family events and the fundraiser last night.

            We finished up just in time to watch Washington Sunday live. As expected they had former generals and White House officials pushing disaster for any troop operations in Iran. Some even said the retaliatory attack was foolish. I guess they forget about all the terrorist attacks that Iran had sponsored. I guess the fact that Iran had bounties on all my family was of no concern.

            The last ad for the show had just finished and cameras went to Arthur, ”And now for the story about two letters, we go to Melinda Schaffer aboard the USS Fordson. Are you there Melinda?”

            ”Yes Arthur I am here. On the bulletin board in the ships Recreation Area there are two letters posted side by side. The first letter was written by Chief Petty Officer Stanley Hastings and was signed by the entire crew to President Jones.” She read the letter to the viewers.

            ”The second letter was the President’s response to Chief Petty Officer Hastings. I will read that letter.”

            ”Dear Chief Perry Officer Hastings,

            I have received your letter and understand your desire to avenge the attack on the USS Hammann. I have the same desire X one hundred. I have been informed that your ship – the USS Fordson – may be past the builder’s bugs and ready for another sea trial. This one will be under fire – a real chance to prove the USS Fordson is ready to take her place on the high seas. A warship earns it worth at sea. The orders are being prepared as I write this.

            Duty calls me in a different direction now but you must know that if I could I would be standing beside you and your shipmates on deck, but I will be there in spirit instead. Those words that you hear whispered, ‘One more launch, one more missile, one more bomb,’ that hand on your shoulder will be mine, let’s go, we can do this. Know that I am standing with you.

            A quick summary of the orders The Fordson will receive are:

Fill all tanks with fuel, fill all stores with provisions, and fill all weapons magazines with the latest most advanced bombs and missiles in the US arsenal.

            The Fordson is to depart Norfolk Navy Yard in three days receiving her aircraft and then proceed east at flank speed.

            The USS Fordson and escorts are to join up with the USS Thomas and USS Stennis as part of task force 67 under the command of Fleet Admiral Scott.

            Task Force 67 will then proceed into the Mediterranean then transit the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean and assemble with other elements of the US Navy.

            Task force 67 will make a footnote in Navy history for having the oldest active aircraft carrier – the USS Thomas – and the newest aircraft carrier – the USS Fordson – in battle. May history look favorably on their performance together.

Sincerely Roberta J. Jones

President of the United States of America.

            Arthur cleared his throat and said, ”Thanks Melinda. How is life aboard a carrier treating you?”

            ”It’s definitely different and noisy but when you get tired enough, you can sleep through it,” she said.

”I want to read that part of that again.”

            ” Duty calls me in a different direction now but you must know that if I could I would be standing beside you and your shipmates on deck, but I will be there in spirit instead. Those words that you hear whispered, ‘One more launch, one more missile, one more bomb,’ that hand on your shoulder will be mine, let’s go, we can do this. Know that I am standing with you.”

            ”That has to be the most powerful motivating statement to our military I have heard in a long time. One other note – there have only been four fleet admirals in the history of the United States Navy; William Leahy , Earnest King, Chester Nimitz and William Bull Halsey in World War Two.”

            “The fact that Admiral Montgomery Scott was given that title and that fifth star shows the confidence that President Jones and the Joint Chiefs have in him to kick ass as President Jones herself has a reputation for.”

            ”We close today with those words.”

            ”Know that I am standing with you,” from President Jones.

            I spent Sunday afternoon and night with my mates. Marine One carried me back to the White House lawn at 0600.

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Book 2 Chapter 178

The day started off with a run – fire alarms were going off in the White House. I was up out of bed in a rush at 0400. Agents led me to the Oval Office and stayed with me while they sorted out the source of whatever tripped the alarms.

            The source turn out to be from outside. The protesters had stayed the night and had started fires in old tires and then threw some kind of smoke generating compound into it. With little wind it settled over the area in a fog.

            Acrid, burning, lung irritating, eye burning – full face oxygen masks came out of hiding places. Fire trucks were coming from everywhere; alarms were going off around the block.

            DHS, CIA and Secret Service agents led me to the underground addition that had a closed ventilation system in case of a gas attack – my old Section Twelve office.

            I didn’t have to but I ordered DHS to arrest all the protesters and charge them with domestic terrorism with a chemical weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy. I was sure there lots of other charges but that one would hold them in a cell.

            I wondered what they had put in the fire to make smoke like that. I wondered if any of the many cameras had captured the people and vehicles involved?

            I wondered if the chemical was a homemade mix or something off the shelf or – supplied from out of country?

            I wondered why today of all days? All good questions that I wanted answers to. I was sure the agencies would find them in time.

            The all clear was given an hour later; the White House had been checked for all kinds of poisons that could have been covered by smoke.

            Outside they were still carting off protesters. They had them sitting in rows in flex cuffs on their ankles as well as on their wrists. The tire fires were out; drenched in foam. The fire department had fans they were using to move the smoke residue out of the area, for whatever little good they did.

            I went to the meeting room where we held the NSA meetings in to start the day’s briefings. The Secret Service still was not comfortable with me using the White House or living quarters until every room was aired out and tested again.

            First was Frank with the CIA reports and new photographs from the satellites. They showed the Iranians were still adding weapons and materials into the underground bunkers. A short conversation changed nothing. There was one more set of covered boat pens in the search of the Iranian coastline on the Persian Gulf.

            I held the photos and intel report for my meeting with the Generals and Admirals that was up next.

            The Generals and Admirals went over the plans one more time. All the plans for the first seven days were presented; it took two hours. It all made sense with the maps on the table using arrows, marks and notes.

            I asked questions about the targeting and the facilities I wanted excluded to see if my directions had been followed. They were to the letter. Seeing it all laid out, I was happy about it the prospects for an ending we could live with.

            General Ingram wanted a letter of authorization in hand before the first missile was fired. I understood that I would want some kind of order myself if I was in their shoes.

            I asked if there was a way I could place a call to Hanna and Melinda after they were placed on the carriers. Hanna was going to the USS Thomas and Melinda to the USS Fordson. They were not to get their phones back until 2345.

            I asked when the amphibious ships would start arriving.

             ”A few are there now; all of them will be there by the second week of operations.”

            I was surprised that there were any amphibious ships were there at all. Those ships had a maximum speed of eighteen to twenty knots where the other Navy ships had speeds of forty knots plus. Common sense told me that it would take them twice as long for them to arrive in the Indian Ocean.

            I was finally allowed to return to the Oval Office. There I asked Connie to research the letters that other presidents had issued to the generals to start operations.

            There was plenty of noise from outside. The park service and the DC street crews were cleaning up a week of trash, tents and cardboard left from the protesters. It amazed me that even environmental protesters so concerned about the environment left tons of discarded trash for someone else to clean up. One would think the area would have been spotless.

            The FBI was taking samples from the ashes and all containers near the fires, looking for anything and also fingerprints on all the containers close by.

            I worked on the statement I was going to give tonight after the missile attack began. It was going to be a short statement with no questions allowed, much to the disappointment of the White House press corps.

            Lunch was light – a small salad, a cheese burger and a mug of sweet tea – I passed on the French fries. I ate in the Oval Office by myself. I had ZNN midday news on; they were struggling with temporary news people.

            The news desk anchor explained that the regular field reporters were fighting a sudden flu bug and that things would return to normal soon. Either none of the reporters had let slip to the bosses what they were doing or else the news chief decided to stay quiet. I found that interesting.

            I had a 1330 meeting with several Congressman and a couple of Senators. I had vetoed a bill they supported. The bill had been sent back to committee and was waiting for agreement. This time they wanted it right when it came across my desk.

            It was close to what we could agree on but I still wanted a couple changes while it was in committee. We talked, negotiated those changes and with some old fashioned political arm twisting, ended up with a bill I could support.

            We were finished and socializing when Connie came in, followed by the General Ingram. Connie handed me the folder. General Ingram had a note that said, ”All Iranian submarines at sea have been sunk.”

            The letter was on White House Presidential stationary in bold print and double spaced lines.

            To: the Secretary of Defense; General Ingram- Chairman Joint Chiefs; Joint Chiefs; Speaker of the House; Majority leader of the senate.

                        I authorize the combined forces of the United States military to begin military operations at 1700 EDT today against the nation of Iran. This is in retaliation for the attack on the USS Hammann, along with funding and training terrorists for attacks around the world.

            President of the United States

            Roberta J. Jones

            I signed twelve copies; one for each of the addresses, one for my personal file and one to go in the archives.

            The copies for the Senate and the House leaders was sent by an agent with instructions that they be delivered a few minutes before 1700.

            ”Will everything start on time?” I asked General Ingram.

            ”Yes Ma-am, ready to go,” he said.

            The General quickly left with his copies. He had thirty minutes to transmit final orders to the forces in the Indian Ocean.

            I had made the call to the USS Thomas to allow Hanna to broadcast as soon as the first missile launched and to the USS Fordson for Melinda to broadcast five minutes later. The rest were set to broadcast fifteen minutes later.

            The Congressional people seemed to be in no hurry to leave today. Now they were talking about bills that were making their way through different stages in committee, wanting input before they came to my desk.

            Troy turned on the big screen to Hanna’s channel 34, split the screen to the ZNN station and muted the sound.

            At 1705 channel 34 went live – Breaking News ”This is Hanna Page aboard the USS Thomas in the Indian Ocean. The United States Navy began the expected military strikes against Iran a few minutes ago. There are multiple missile launches from ships in every direction,” Hanna said.

            Hanna was wearing a Navy flak jacket and a helmet; both had USS Thomas on them. While she was talking the ships PA warned of incoming missiles. Moments later the laser weapons started responding – the Patriot Five anti-missile system had gone active. Jed’s camera followed the laser to see the system hitting incoming missiles miles from the ships.

            Fleet Admiral Scott had positioned the Thomas closer to Iran than the other carriers. From the sea trial test he had faith that it would work. The Patriot Five system was getting a trial by fire. Other ships’ anti-missile systems were working as well. How well would be known by daylight.

            Melinda went live for ZNN from the Fordson with pretty much the same report; there wasn’t much else they could say. ZNN had all ten reporters give reports.

            At 1740 I walked to the podium ”Today the United States Navy began a series of attacks in retaliation for the attack on the USS Hammann and many other attacks on US personnel in the Middle East for the last several years. The military operation shall continue throughout the night and for several days,” I said.

            ”At this time I will take no questions,” I said as I turned to leave the podium.

            One of the news persons for a liberal media outlet yelled out, ”Don’t you think several days of missile strikes is a little bit too much response?”

            ”You slap me and I will kick your ass so hard it will take your dentist to remove my shoe. Iran slapped and it’s going to get one hell of an ass kicking,” I said.

            ”Previous presidents would have been happy to shoot a few missiles, drop a few bombs and declare victory. That’s not the way I do things,” I said and then I walked out. The news room was deathly quiet; no one made any attempt to ask any more questions.

            I went to the dining room to eat supper. Tonight I had steak, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, peas and ice tea.

            I wondered what Hanna and Melinda thought of their first day on the carrier and the meal. I had told General Ingram none of the media – including the ladies – were to get special treatment in accommodations with meals or bunks while aboard.

            The opening military campaign had several parts. First – twenty eight guided missile cruisers – each carrying one hundred and thirty missiles in tubes – were to expend fifty percent of the missiles or 1820 of them and then move away into a position to defend the carriers.

            The cruisers’ first strikes were to hit the most important and targets designated as primary targets: radars, anti-missile sites, military installations and command and control sites.

            Next, moving into position sixty eight destroyers each carrying ninety missiles were to use one third or 2040 of them to hit the large primary targets again, then the secondary targets. All this was to be done before day break.

            At 2200 I went to the basement where I thought the joint chiefs’ night crew would be on duty. Instead General Ingram, the joint chiefs and the night shift were all there. One meeting table was stacked with pizza boxes – the go to food when we went to war.

            ”The missile portion has finished. The carriers are launching the planes now,” General Ingram said. To confirm that statement they had ZNN on the TV showing the launches. The sun was just coming up in the Indian Ocean.

            At daybreak the Navy aviation campaign was to begin.

            All planes from the twelve heavy carriers, some twelve hundred planes would begin selective strikes on targets of opportunity, missile sites that showed signs of repairs or hidden sites still active, anything military that was moving on the roads and known ammo bunkers.

            By 1000 the Navy should have located any remaining working radar and SAM’s (surface to air anti-aircraft missile) sites and destroyed them. Then they were to retire with about half providing escort for fifty B21 bombers, each carrying two MOABs.

            The one hundred MOABs were to be dropped on select targets, the twenty IRG compounds and military bases. Others were to be dropped on the nuclear research buildings, the centrifuge sites and missile manufacturing plants. Others were to be dropped on the government headquarters buildings including the parliament and the presidential palace.

            ”One thing we need to look at is escape routes out of Iran to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Have the Navy bomb everything that tries to leave Iran. The powerful are going to try to run,” I said.

            ”Well, I’m going to bed. If something comes up that you need me for, call,” I added.

            It would be tomorrow morning before the action reports could be compiled by the Navy and the review for effect by the intelligence groups. There was no need for me to stay up. I wasn’t go to do any knee jerk reactions anyway.

            I slept soundly, woke up promptly at 0600 and then called my mates. It was 1400 in Iran. We talked for almost an hour. Vicky told me that the Iranians had turned the fast boats loose at 1210.

            Andy’s teams had sunk over forty of them, fifteen were still burning this morning. Vicky had twenty fast ships damaged and five with severe damages; many of them would be out of service for extended repairs. There were also more wounded and five more deceased.

            Iran had fired over 800 missiles at the US ships, Saudi Arabia and Israel in the first twenty minutes that it took ours to knock out their systems. The information the Russians had given us was only partially effective.

            None hit the US ships; the close in defense and the Patriot Five systems on the Thomas took care of the rest.

            Saudi Arabia and Israel were not as lucky but they did have the lion’s share of the missiles sent their way. Ten got through Israel’s Iron Dome and Patriot defense system. Fifteen had gotten through the older Patriot systems in Saudi Arabia.

            For some reason – I was sure due to a computer input error – ten hit the same aircraft hangar. One hit an oil storage tank and four hit the international airport parking area, destroying several commercial planes.

            Robert sent me an email.

            ”Tiam and the General were both very active while directing the response to the missile attack. Apparently they were in different buildings at the same site because they were commenting on how close the missile attacks were to their position.”

            “At 1030 the General commented on the ground and building shaking and the sound of big jets overhead. Tiam started to respond and then all messaging stopped.”

            According to the printout of the bomber data logs, two B21 bombers dropped four MOABs on the IRG general headquarters and the IRG training war college complex at 1032.         

            At 1200 the fifty B52 bombers were escorted by carrier planes. The B52s were each carrying one fifty thousand pound seismic bombs, they were dropped from forty five thousand feet and guided to the target area.

            They were designed to penetrate very deep into the ground, rock or manmade concrete then explode. They were built with the most modern explosive mix. They were designed to mimic an earthquake and would destroy any underground structure within a thousand feet of its entry point and anything on the surface.

            Each explosion would register on earthquake monitoring equipment around the world. There were a hundred and fifty underground structures, ammo depots, missiles storage, suspected nuclear research, storage sites and others. Fifty were going to be hit today, fifty tomorrow and fifty the next.

            Instead of returning to the United States to rearm, the B21s and B52s were using US bases in Germany, the UK and Saudi Arabia to end the long flight times it would take to return to North Dakota and Louisiana. They would return tomorrow and bomb more selected sites.

            I was in the Oval Office when Frank brought in the latest spy satellite photographs from a pass-over just twenty minutes ago. The generals followed him.

            Frank had the pictures grouped by the area they were from. The satellite traveled in an orbit north west over Ardabil to the south east over Chabahar and the north east tip of Oman and continuing its orbit.

            The missile testing area of Ardabil was completely demolished and there were massive craters where underground structures used to be. The pictures from Tehran spoke more volumes.

            The thousand acre IRG headquarters complex, the war college, the weapons manufacturing plants and testing site reminded me of the pictures of Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped.

            Everything was gone – steel beams twisted like pretzels, massive craters where underground secret labs were and fires still raging while fed by materials used to make explosives. These were the very same labs that developed the infamous IED that had killed so many US soldiers and were now used against civilians in the Middle East and Africa.

            The political district was no different – nothing but rubble where the parliament building, presidential palace and state buildings once stood – all were gone. The very place where the weekly death to America marches and chants were carried out were gone.

            The pictures were the same for every target area; the big bombs and the seismic bombs had done their job.

            The underground bunkers where so much armor and ammunition had been recently stored were nothing but massive craters a hundred feet deep and more.

            I had intended to run the bombing campaign for six days, but I began to think three days would be all that was necessary before a ground campaign could start.

            The B21 and B52s had two more days of  scheduled bomb runs already planned. Without a doubt I was going to allow them to finish.

            I asked what kind of opposition the carrier planes ran into on their sweep before the arrival of the B21s.

            ”Twenty SAM missile sites were destroyed and several hundred trucks,” General Ingram said.

            ”We think the only active radar site still working is at the international airport,” he added.

            I looked through the pictures again at the sites I ordered to be left alone. The oil production and refineries looked untouched. I was glad – I wanted no repeat of the environmental disaster that had happened at the end of the first gulf war. Power plants and substations were untouched as I wanted. They would be needed to restore services when all was done.

            ”There are one hundred and fifty A10s now in the area and fifteen of the twenty five amphibious ships will be there today if you wanted to push faster,” the Marine General of the chiefs said.

            ‘‘Let’s continue with the bombing plan for two more days and then reassess. If it looks promising, start putting the pieces in place,” I said.

            ”I need to play politician for a while. Keep me informed if I need to be – continue on as planned,” I said as they all stood and then left.

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Book 2 Chapter 177

 Air Force One landed at Andrews at 1800; I had worked the whole flight. It seemed the more paper I read and approved, there was five more added to the pile.

            I did get to read through Andrew’s speech for the fundraiser. They were winding down and I was happy about that, even though my mates and I now enjoyed doing them. The last one was the end of August at the convention. I was the keynote speaker.

            The convention started on a Sunday with the plank committee putting together the platform for the party on a host of ideas and programs. The platform was to be finished on Monday and voted on Tuesday or Tuesday evening.

            The platform was certainly going to be a cluster fuck, to put it mildly. There were still four candidates closely tied in delegate votes and none were backing down; in fact all talks had stopped. Usually at this stage of the game they traded support for high spots in the prospective administration.

            The platform makeup was usually controlled by the prospective candidate with things that would not cause the candidate a problem with the voters.

            It was a quick ride in Marine One to the landing behind the office. I liked landing at the office; there were no reporters and no crowds there and it was a security plus that the Secret Service liked.

            I had fun with the boys. They were anxious to show me their garden tomorrow afternoon. Sunday we were going fishing again. Tomorrow was meeting with Andy and then time in the gym that I desperately needed. I worked out in the White House gym but my mates worked out much harder than the Secret Service would let me.

            Air Force One took us to Arkansas for the fund raiser. It was a round robin trip. Meet privately with the large donors first and then get them pumped up and another ‘in the mood to vote’ speech. Then the return trip to Morton Field. We were home and ready for bed by 2300.

            We went to bed early with play time with my mates lasting several hours. After breakfast we went to the farm so JJ and RJ could show me their garden. Everything was growing beautifully. With the temperatures and rains their sweet corn was growing like crazy; in just a couple weeks it was twice as tall as they were. They were proud little boys as I heaped praise on them for their garden; there was not a weed or blade of grass anywhere in it. I was sure the pop pops were helping. The boys did check the rows of potatoes for bugs while we were there.

            At 1000 we met Andy and Paul Drake in the meeting room by the command center. I filled them in on what was happening and when in the Persian Gulf and what I thought they needed to do to honor the contracts we had with the OPEC six when the operation began.     

            We talked until lunch. At the end I listened while Andy and Paul made plans to fit the possible scenarios. I left with confidence that Andy would have everything under control and well planned when it counted.

            We spent four hours in the gym working out at a nice easy pace for me. The agents that were working out with us didn’t think so but that was their problem, not mine.

            Sunday we left the dock at 0500. Today we were going off Rock Hall – the commercial guys had been catching a lot of fish there all week. By the time we got there the bait had been cut and the lines rigged, ready to drop into the water.

            It was no story; there were plenty of fish there and they were hungry. We caught our limit of rockfish and flounder in two hours. We then smothered them in ice.

            We decided that since it was so early and a gorgeous day, we would take boat ride to the top of the bay to Havre de Grace and sight see along the way. We had brought lunch in case fishing was bad and were going to need all day to catch a few.

            It was a four hour cruise and was refreshing and relaxing. Even with the cruise we were back home at 1600.

            There was still time for one more thing I wanted to do and that was shoot some targets at the gun club. It had been a month since we had practiced and we were due. I practiced with the Glock and m16. It felt good to shoot again and by the time to go, I was back to my old scores.

            My mates and I had another good night together a little pillow talk about business and a lot of intimacy.

            I left early for the White House. I had a busy day of appointments after the daily updates from my staff and the joint chiefs. Everything was going as planned – all ships for round one would be there in time. Even the Fordson task force would arrive on time. It had rushed the fitting out and left the base in two days, not three. The crew was eager to get into the fight; they were obviously tired of sitting at the dock.

            Today five carrier task forces were going to transit the Suez Canal. That would raise eyebrows in Egypt, Israel and the Red Sea countries. Five were already in the Indian Ocean or off the coast of Africa heading there and two more were arriving from the west coast today.

            My next unscheduled meeting was with the Chinese Ambassador Sing Yung Sue. He insisted that he see me immediately. After the normal round of pleasantries, ”My government sent me to remind you that Iran and China have agreements in both trade and military,” he said.

            ”So China sanctioned the attack on our destroyer and now wants to cover for them,” I said.

            ”No no we knew nothing in advance of the attack. We were as surprised as you,” he said.

            ”Then why haven’t you condemned Iran for the attack? Why did you block the UN resolution condemning Iran?” I asked.

            ”We have agreements with them,” he said before I cut him off.

            ”Now would be an excellent opportunity for you to withdraw from those agreements. If you had no part in the attack, they have given you a perfect excuse to make an exit.”

            ”The only thing I see is a lose – lose scenario for China if it interferes with US retaliatory operations against Iran. China can lose the two hundred billion in exports to Iran and its cheap oil deal or lose the one trillion plus exports to the United States.”

            ”The oil will always be for sale – the Iranians can’t drink it. It just won’t be the sweet deal you forced on them. But if China interferes in any way, I will stop all Chinese made products and products made with components from China from being shipped to America within minutes. I can guarantee it will be decades – if ever – before you ship anything to the US.” I said.

            ”You cannot survive without our exports to you. You will buckle and beg us to ship our products to you,” he said.

            ”We are the United States – our citizens and manufacturing will step up to the plate. It may take a few months but China will be a distant memory. You seem to forget there are any number of countries willing to take your place as a supplier.”

            ”Central America , South America, Africa, the European Union, Canada and Mexico – our next door neighbors – are only a few of those willing to replace you. Even Russia is looking at manufacturing exports and I know I can work deals with them,” I said.

            ”Just one interference is all it will take. What is your government going to tell the one hundred and fifty million workers that suddenly have nothing to manufacture?,” I asked.

            He stood to leave, ”I will relay your comments to my government,” he said.

            Troy escorted him out of the building as Connie finished up her notes. When Troy came back I called for General Ingram to listen to the audio of the meeting. The discussion ended on a positive note; the general consensus was China would stay out of the picture.

            ”We still need to settle the reporter problem,” General Ingram said.

            ”How many do you think need to be with the fleet?” I asked.

            ”I would put one on each carrier for now. It is easier to put them on a carrier than other ships.”

            Next was a call to Melinda, ”I need you to come to the White House ASAP. I have some questions I need to ask you.”

            ”Don’t you have that backwards? I’m supposed be the one to ask the questions,” she said with a giggle. Then added ”I will be there in ten minutes.”           

            While I was waiting I called Hanna, ”Hey girlfriend, what are doing for the next few days?”

            ”Nothing pressing have you got something in mind?” she said.

            ”You and Jed each pack a duffel bag, when it is finalized I will tell when and where, don’t forget the passports,” I said.

            Melinda had arrived and was brought back by one of the agents.

            ”Are you up for an adventure for a few days? ” I asked.

            ”Where are we going?” she asked.

            ”Can’t tell you and you know that. I also need ten more of your news friends. Same set up, reporter and camera person, they can’t be told where they are going or for how long and they cannot tell their bosses they are leaving. It will all be apparent soon enough. Do you think you can quickly find that many? There is very little time left; I know this is very short notice,” I said.

            ”Give me a few minutes, let me make some calls,” Melinda said.

            A few minutes later Melinda returned.

            ”It was tough but I have ten news teams. Where do we need to meet?” Melinda said.

            ”Reagan International Airport at the general aviation terminal. A Navy plane will make the flight. Time is of the essence and is going to be tight. They need to be on the plane in ninety minutes, ” I said.

            What I didn’t tell her was that all bags would be checked and all phones collected before the flight and would not be returned until they were on the ground in Saudi Arabia.

            They were landing at a military airport where they would be split up in groups of four and put on Navy greyhound flights to the carriers. One more problem solved for now.

            The afternoon was one problem after another; I was more than ready to retire to the living quarters at 1800. I ate a light supper before doing a video call home. I talked an hour with my mates and the boys. Vicky indicated everything was ready with the JBG ships in the gulf. Andy and Paul Drake both had left for Saudi Arabia. Tomorrow was going to be busy.

            It was later than normal when I went to bed.

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Book 2 Chapter 176

The first meeting was at 1000, but many of the diplomats met in the five star cafeteria for breakfast. President Orbatch, Prime Minister Attenborough and I arrived at the same time for breakfast. The three of us decided to sit at one table without any aides.

            Other G8 members were scattered around at various tables. Japan, Germany and Canadian representatives were at another table. Italy and France were at yet another.

            Over breakfast Orbatch, Attenborough and I discussed how the agreement with Russia was working out. They both offered assistance again if we needed it in any conflict with Iran.

            I seriously doubted that Prime Minister Attenborough would be able to offer anything but token assistance. Muslims now held the political edge in Britain. More than fifty percent of the cities were now controlled by Muslims and almost as many seats in Parliament and the House of Commons. France, Germany Italy were all in no better shape. Sharia law was replacing traditional laws and penalties.

            Refuges from the Syrian conflict and other Middle Eastern civil wars along with the European Union’s insane open borders policies had sealed the fate of Europe; in twenty more years they all would be Muslims.

            All that was one reason I had asked for no help from European countries. If asked, they would demand to be part of the decision making process and as there were more of them, I would end up losing control or get mired down in continuous political disputes.

            I felt sure that Orbatch would very probably send troops if I asked, given I had him on a string. I was betting I wasn’t going to need them with the plan that the generals and admirals had worked out. The DOD had excellent planners when one took their blinders off and threw the book of restrictions in the shredder.

Prime Minister Attenborough was trying to get a feeling on what kind of military cuts the US was going to do in Europe. It was a topic that the Pentagon had put on hold. Even though they were no longer part of the European Union, they were still affected by decisions connected to it by trade.

            The numbers and bases would have to be first looked at by several groups in the Pentagon and that would take a couple years. After they were finished, Congress would have to be convinced. Then there was the work to do with our allies.

            The Pentagon could do slow draw downs and reductions saving lots of money. But the big issues would be political and take time.

             Troy handed me a note from Chief of Naval Operations. It was on the condition of the Hammann. It had traveled under its own power with JBG ships for escort to the JBG Masqat dry dock. Experts from Ingalls Industries – the builder of the Hammann – were waiting to inspect it.

            The Hammann had been escorted by twelve JBG fast ships and four army helicopters from a Saudi base and guided into the dry dock. The keel blocks were placed and the dock was pumped dry by a team from Newport News Ship Building. They were the ones that used the dry docks last to repair the collision damaged destroyer.

            The crew was put up in the barracks that were part of the JBG site. While the last destroyer was being repaired improvements had been made to make it more livable and fit in the twenty first century. There were 10 VCATS rooms where American guest service men and ladies could contact home through the JBG network. A sailor could set up a prearranged time and see his or her family live at any JBG office.

            The Hammann was twenty five years old and had just returned to service from a two hundred and fifty million dollar upgrade and overhaul. A new destroyer to replace the Hammann was two billion dollars and eight years away with the two year fitting out and sea trials before accepted delivery. The ship yards that built them had construction contracts with the Navy that far out.

            The USS Cole had taken fourteen months to be repaired after a terrorist boat filled with high explosives struck her amidships, flooding multiple decks and nearly sinking her.

            With most of the damage on the Hammann superstructure, I expected the ship to be repaired and a lot faster. With CAD equipment and blueprints, repairs would go quickly.

            After breakfast we went to the acclaimed Resort Country Club of Madrid. The meeting became contentious from the opening. Agriculture trade was a big issue; Spain, France and Canada were unhappy that the US had entered in the grain deal with Russia.

            Their argument was by the exclusivity of the agreement it robbed the international markets of fair trade. Their theory was that the US should have bought the grain on the European grain market and donated it to Russia.

            I quickly shot that theory down by saying we had the grain in government storage that was already paid for so doing that didn’t make any sense. I didn’t see how Canada fit into the European grain market equation. The US bought a substantial amount of Canadian agricultural products of all kinds.

            It looked like it was my turn to be in the barrel. Everyone had a gripe or wanted something for nothing, including dropping trade restrictions that had been negotiated and in place for decades. I guess they thought I was in a giving mood.

            They soon found out I was not. I quietly thanked the State Department for the full days briefing in preparation for the three days of meetings. I held my own and gained a few points here and there.

            As usual there were the news conferences and photo ops along with musical chairs. It happened so much I was used to it by now. A couple of leaders who were pranksters would have rabbit ears in some of the photos as payback. I was sure they would get me back before we adjourned.

            The three days drug by – in my opinion the three days were a waste. There were no real accomplishments to speak of for people at our level of power.

            There were documents to sign for the press the final day and a farewell feast. The document signing lasted thirty minutes too long.

            The feast consisted of all kinds of Spanish delicacies with everyone taking samples from the trays. There was one tray labeled criadillas – I knew what they were and it would not be the first time I had them. If they were prepared right, they were good. They were considered a south western and hillbilly treat. I guess that there were those in Spain that liked them also.

            Troy, Secretary Dean and I were sitting at the table with President Orbatch, Anton and the Spanish Prime Minister Diaz, waiting for the desert tray to be brought around.

            ”What did you think of the delicacies? I noticed that you sampled most of the items,” Prime Minister Diaz asked.

            ”All of them were good. It was nice to sample different foods. The criadillas would have been better if the cook had added a dash of old bay seasoning to the batter,” I said.

            ”Oh, you have had them before?” he asked.

            ”They call them Mountain Oysters in the Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountain Oysters in the West and South West and in Canada – Canadian Prairie Oysters. Yes, I have had them several times before – they taste even better when they are cut up and allowed to drain when they are still warm,” I said.

            ”What are they?” Troy asked.

            ”I’ll tell you later. Has the hotel room been checked and our bags sent to the plane?” I asked.

            ”Yes and there are messages you need to look at when we are airborne,” Troy said.

            I started looking at messages while we were in the line to take off. The Chief of Naval Operations confirmed that the Hammann would be seaworthy enough to return to the US in about two weeks.

            Parts of the superstructure would be cut off – that could create problems on the open ocean – and plates welded on some of the holes on the main deck to keep sea water out. Many of the ship’s functions that were necessary to fight were damaged. Consequently, all ammunition and missiles in the magazines would be removed.

            Lower deck controls for the ships essential functions would be enough to get it back home.

            The next was from General Ingram, ”All Naval units required for part one will be in place by Tuesday night as planned. Targeting information developed by your instructions is complete and will be sent to all ships on Tuesday.

            ”That’s good news,” I replied.

            That was one thing Troy and I needed to talk about was how many media personalities we were going to fly to the carriers. I wasn’t going to have any aboard. The Generals insisted that it was customary there be some media assigned with the forces.

            I finally agreed but only with the Navy; there would be none to accompany the ground troops. I remembered all the crap the media would start with first dead civilian they saw.

            Tonight I was going home to be with my mates. I had already asked to see both Andy and Vicky in a meeting tomorrow; there were things they needed to know.

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Book 2 Chapter 175

I was up early 0400; I just couldn’t sleep. The cook fixed me pancakes, eggs over easy and two sausage patties. A couple of agents joined me drinking coffee.
On my desk was the box back from the FBI. Inside the box was a letter and papers with signatures – lots of signatures.
”To the honorable President Jones.”
”I know you are very busy so I will try to keep this as short as possible. My name is Chief Petty Officer Stanley Hastings. I serve on the USS Fordson. I know you have been highly distressed at all the problems getting my ship into service, as we all have been.”
”At the last sea trial the engineers and technicians found the solutions to most of the problems and they have been repaired. We are waiting for new sea trials to confirm the repairs.”
”The reason for the letter is our brothers on the Hammann have been attacked. Being former military I’m sure you know an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us.”
”Other ships at the Navy docks have received orders to go to sea immediately to avenge the attack on our brothers in arms, many are leaving in the morning fully armed – eager to carry the fight to the enemy.”
”We can launch planes and recover them, our pilots are the best, they can deliver weapons on the target. Please, please allow us to join the fight to avenge the attack on the Hammann. No ship can call itself a warship while tied to the dock when it is needed at sea.”
It was signed by Stanley Hastings and four thousand six hundred of his shipmates, including Rear Admiral Bramble, Captain Horn and one hundred and twenty pilots.
I would take no action until I talked with the Chief of Naval Operations and the secretary of the Navy. They were coming in early every morning now.
Frank dropped off the latest satellite pictures. We went over them one at a time. The analyst had circled several items of things that had changed since yesterday. From all appearances they were hardening several missile sites where they did testing. More Chinese antiaircraft radars and anti aircraft batteries were brought in. Plenty of cruise missiles would take care of them.
China was their go to supplier now that Russia was out of the picture. It was a match made in heaven. Iran was selling them oil at a discounted price – pennies on the Rial – for what the market value was in exchange for weapons made with slave labor.
It was almost a joke, what neither Iran nor the Chinese knew was that Russia turned over to the CIA the manuals on the latest Chinese missile systems, including the coding systems for the controls.
Before all the turmoil between Russia and China they had worked together on the anti-missile systems China had sold to the Iranians. The engineers had exchanged detailed design plans.
Experts were pouring over the data and had already found and were working on exploiting its weaknesses, sending the data to the Air Force and the Navy.
My early visitors were the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Ingram and Chief of Naval Operations Miles Browning lll who was the naval component of the joint chiefs and Admiral John Paterson, the liaison between Newport News Ship Building and the Navy.
The Chief of Naval Operations gave me an update on the departures of Navy ships from the East Coast and West Coast ports and ships at foreign Navy bases. We needed to leave some ships at scattered bases in case there were issues that the Navy had to handle. Those ships would be frigates and other ships.
I asked about the Fordson and the repairs and modifications since the sea trials. Admiral Paterson went down the list of items that were faulty from the first sea trials and the list of those that were repaired.
Then he went down the list on the last sea trial and all the ones that had been fixed. The numbers were considerably better. He highlighted that there were no longer any critical items that had not been repaired. The shipyard was confident that those systems would pass at the next sea trial.
Critical systems are those that create an unsafe or hazardous situation that could jeopardize the ship in combat or its ability to deliver weapons to the target. Radar was just one example, propulsion was another.
For any fighting ship that included the ability to move weapons from the magazines to the guns or planes that were to deliver them. Or in the case of a carrier – launch and recovery systems and the elevators to move aircraft from the hangar deck to the flight deck. All of those systems had failed multiple times in the sea trails of the Fordson.
”Newport News Shipbuilding is fully confident they have fixed all the major problems,” Admiral Paterson said for the second time.
”Can the remaining items be repaired at sea if the repair teams are on board?” I asked.
I slid the box with the letter on top of the sheets of signatures to General Ingram. It only took a minute for him to read it and look at the stack of signatures. He slid it over to Admiral Browning.
”I think we can arrange a make or break sea trail for the Fordson,” I said.
”I will write a letter to Chief Petty Officer Hastings since his letter was to me. I’ll need you to help write the correct orders and send them to the right places,” I added.
Connie typed it on official presidential stationery:
Dear Chief Petty Officer Hastings,
I have received your letter and understand your desire to avenge the attack on the USS Hammann. I have the same desire X one hundred. I have been informed that your ship – the USS Fordson – may be past the builder’s bugs and ready for another sea trial. This one will be under fire – a real chance to prove the USS Fordson is ready to take her place on the high seas. A warship earns it worth at sea. The orders are being prepared as I write this.
Duty calls me in a different direction now but you must know that if I could I would be standing beside you and your shipmates on deck, but I will be there in spirit. Those words that you hear whispered, ‘One more launch, one more missile, one more bomb,’ that hand on your shoulder will be mine, let’s go, we can do this. Know that I am standing with you.
A quick summary of the orders The Fordson will receive are:
Fill all tanks with fuel, fill all stores with provisions, and fill all weapons magazines with the latest most advanced bombs and missiles in the US arsenal.
The Fordson is to depart Norfolk Navy Yard in three days receiving her aircraft and then proceed east at flank speed.
The USS Fordson and escorts are to join up with the USS Thomas and USS Stennis as part of task force 67 under the command of Fleet Admiral Scott.
Task Force 67 will then proceed into the Mediterranean then transit the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean and assemble with other elements of the US Navy.
Task force 67 will make a footnote in Navy history for having the oldest active aircraft carrier- the USS Thomas – and the newest aircraft carrier – the USS Fordson – in battle. May history look favorably on their performance together.
Sincerely Roberta J. Jones
President of the United States of America.
There was a modern computer process for cutting ship’s orders. Years ago they were hand typed with carbon copies for multiple departments. Today it was drop down boxes for the ship, the destination, place of departure, dates and times. Also in drop down boxes were the orders for all the things needed, fuel, food, all the gibberish was automatically installed and a comment box for special instructions. The Admiral’s aide was finishing up as was I.
Copies were sent to the escorts and harbor tugs were all notified of the departure times.
The letter to Chief Hastings would be transmitted to the ship through a secure link for immediate delivery with a note for it to be read over the ships PA system for the crew. It was sent a few moments later and would be there in a just a few minutes. The written one would be delivered by mail for a keepsake if he wanted.
I spent all day Tuesday being briefed for the G8 conference in Madrid Spain. Secretary Dean and I covered the minutes from the last four meetings. Then I learned about current State Department positions and why they were our positions. After that, I got the joyous pleasure of formulating positions for the next meeting in six months.
The meeting was Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday evening I had another fund raiser to attend and the family was joining me. This one was in Arkansas.
Tuesday night Air Force One carried me and my full staff plus Secretary of State Dean and a few other people to Spain for the G8 Conference.
Madrid was filled with protesters protesting everything from the environment, social issues, global warming, global cooling, cows, pigs, lambs, subways, cars, bikes, health care, taxes, wealth and war. If it could be protested, they were here.
The political protesters were here in abundance, all with a different gripe. There were the anti-American groups, anti-European groups and anti-Israel. According to the intelligence groups there was a big protest by groups aligned with Iran planned for tomorrow against the United States and me.
There were those that only came for the protest parties and abundant booze and drugs. Then there were others that came just to start mayhem.
The Spanish police, Special Forces and troops were patrolling the streets to keep the roads open and the protesters from blocking the main highways.
The Spanish government tripled the amount of security for the attendees. I brought double the amount of Secret Service and CIA teams. I was concerned but not worried.
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Book 2 Chapter 174

Sunday morning after breakfast I went to the Oval Office and read the new reports. The C5 bringing the bodies had been delayed in Germany and was not going to land in Dover until Monday at 1800. That delay was to allow the morticians more time to clean up the bodies and perform DNA test on body parts.
It would allow the families time to come to Dover if they wanted. It also gave me a day to spend with the family they could wait and go home tomorrow morning.
We went swimming in the private presidential pool for several hours before lunch. After lunch we played games in the game room with the boys. They had supper with me and we had a good night together.
With the family gone I started Monday’s routine only to be interrupted by Troy.
”There are four senators in the lobby anxious to see you,” he said
”Ok send them in,” I said.
”Senator Harcourt, Senator Johnson, Senator Williams and Senator Bright how you today?” I said.
”We are fine. People are mad, others are worried that you may lead us into an extended Middle East war again,” Senator Johnson said.
”There will be no extended Middle East war – I can assure of that,” I said.
”The Senate is going to take up your request and vote on the authorization after lunch. The Navy is sending someone to give testimony and update the Senate on the crew and the condition of the ship,” Senator Williams said.
”That someone is the Chief of Naval Operations and he has classified video of the attack. It is not for those that are weak in the stomach,” I said.
”Just where and how did you get video?” the Senator asked.
”It’s from the JBG fast ships under contract to the OPEC five. Vicky had to get the King’s approval to allow it to be released. All the fast ship crew wear Go-Pro cams on duty. It works similar to a body cam worn by police officers. It allows the job to be critiqued on attitude and efficiency or problem child.”
”The House is voting before lunch. There are several opposition groups there,” Senator Williams said.
”The Chief of Naval Operations should be showing the film in a few minutes there. There was a hold up with some of the members wanting to release the film to the public.”
After much bickering and grandstanding for the cameras, they were allowed back in. Special interest groups that some of the members were indebted to finally gave in and the House passed the resolution at 1145. The vote was four hundred for and thirty against with five voting present.
The Senate didn’t have the problems the House did. The Sergeant at Arms ran the media out, closed and locked the doors and turned off all recording devices.
The piece of film that we had chosen to be shown to both houses was from Squadron Six. Squadron Six was a six ship unit under the command of Commander John Fitzgerald, he also was the captain of ship six. There were three six ship squadrons at Ad Damman. Vicky was now getting the ship numbers into the contract numbers.
Lt Mickey Butler was the weapons officer. The weapons officer could pilot the ship when any of the fixed weapons were fired.
The fixed weapons were two Hellfire missiles, one on each side of the overhead. In between the Hellfires were 12 improved Hydra Seventy rockets. The Hydra Seventy rocket started its life as a dumb fin stabilized rocket that had to be carefully aimed at what you wanted to hit.
The Hydra Seventy rockets that JBG had were advanced models modified at the Israel Mossad secret research facility. They were still fin stabilized but now had target acquisition and lock on target ability. They were a foot longer than the original version.
Mack Rubble was the Mark 38 chain gun operator on the port stern. The Mark 38 was 25 MM or 95 caliber with an effective range of ten thousand feet and a maximum range of twenty three thousand feet. As a chain gun it was battery powered – in this case from the ships 24 volt power system.
Jeff Briggs was the operator on the twin fifty mounted on the on the starboard stern. He was also in charge of the depth charge rack.
Billy Hammond was on the bow Mark 38 chain gun. Eddie Foster was the odd man out; he was responsible for the engines and filled in any gun position on the ship.
We chose the helmet video of Commander Fitzgerald because it was the most complete video of the thirty minute attack and response. Squadron six was in the transition area with the other seven ships and the Hammann and maintaining position with the engines.
”What the hell was that?” John said.
”Missiles 11 o’clock, four helicopters, Iranian fast boats coming at 10 o clock,” Billy yelled.
”Battle stations, lock and load, belt in; going to full throttle,” John ordered.
”Ad -Dam control we need back up NOW; we are under attack, helicopters and Iranian fast boats,” he radioed.
Lock and load puts a round in the chamber; at that point the gun is ready to fire when the trigger is squeezed. All the guns are aim-able on restricted turret mounts limited by their location on the ship. For instance, the bow gun has a sweep of two hundred and twenty degrees.
Each of the stern guns has a sweep of roughly one hundred and eighty degrees. Two guns could be fired on any target by positioning the ship at a slight angle, easily done with the drive units on the ships. It could actually crab sideways.
Each of the gun mounts had an operator’s half seat with a safety belt. When all five thousand horsepower was put to the propellers, you better be belted in and hanging onto something.
”Squadron six – battle stations, attack targets at 10 o clock, fire at will, fire for effect; this is no drill!” ordered Commander Fitzgerald.
As commander of the squadron his head was on a swivel. He was looking for the backup and to see if any Iranian boats were anywhere else on the radar.
He was looking at the helicopters when the missiles from the Hammann took them out. He followed the missiles fired from the helicopters as the close in defense took all but one of them out.
He had the overview of the JBG ships destroying the Iranian fast boats and the four missiles from the fast boats getting through the close in defense systems. The Iranians had fired sixty missiles. It was a swarm offense strategy; fire missiles and then run. They had not planned on the JBG ships being there. They lost eighteen of their twenty boats.
”Ships one, two and three make sure the Iranians in the water are all dead. Ships four, five, seven, eight and nine render assistance to the Hammann – fire up the fire pumps and help them fight the fires,” Fitzgerald ordered.
The House and Senate were not the only things happening on Monday; it in fact started on Saturday after the attack. Every base went into full combat mode.
Tugs were pushing fuel barges to fill the tanks on ships that had been notified for departure. Refrigerated trucks were carrying provisions to fill freezers and food lockers with whatever the cooks thought they needed.
It takes an unimaginable amount of food to feed 4700 hundred men and women on an aircraft carrier. The kitchens never shut down, operating twenty four hours a day.
Barges carrying ammunition, rockets, missiles and bombs were filling the magazines. Medical supplies were being checked, the pharmacies were filled with supplies from lists that had been generated over the decades.
It was a huge task to outfit a task force to go to sea and keep it at sea. There were replenishment ships that delivered food and materials to them at sea. That was the job of the Sea Lift Command, another part of the Navy that was always on the short end of funding. When the Navy needs them, they are leased.
For refueling that many ships crossing the Atlantic going into the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean, the Navy seized – force leased – the Esso Atlantic carrying light fuel oil to Galveston Texas.
It was to sail in a box in the area of Ponta Delgata and refuel all the petroleum powered ships. They would then sail into the Indian Ocean and the Saudi’s would supply fuel while they were there.
In the Pacific the Sunoco Ocean Blue was contracted in the same way. It was to sail in the area of Palau for the ships coming from the west coast and Pearl Harbor.
The Senate passed the resolution eighty five to fifteen, authorizing a military response and additional funding for the DOD.
As I left the White House, anti-war demonstrators were picketing in the street and had been all day. It wasn’t unexpected; Robert had intercepted a broadcast from Tiam with a message from the General. It was a general directive to their affiliates and activists to bring political pressure against the US government and the governments of our allies through marches and protests.
At Dover the C5 was going to be an hour late. The families had all flown in to see their loved one arrive. It was going to be a gut wrenching afternoon and evening.
The Secretary of defense, Sectary of the navy and the Chief of Naval Operations plus my close staff were with me.
I talked with every one of the family members that were there, a Chaplain was with most of them offering condolences and prayers and I prayed with them. I added my own private prayer.
I prayed for guidance and wisdom for the upcoming operations. I prayed that the military losses be few. I prayed that our missile defenses worked perfectly and that the laser weapons lived up to the sales pitch. They say Eisenhower prayed on the morning of D Day and that Patton ordered prayers at the battle of the Bulge so I felt it was OK if I prayed.
Finally it was over; the caskets all unloaded and the grieving parents comforted as best we could. There are some things that happen in life we never forget; for me this was one of them.
The ride back to the White House was quiet no one felt like saying much of anything.
At the White House the demonstrators and news people were still there. Still trying to make the world in their vision.
I made a VCATS call to the girls. I wanted to know about the arrangements for the three JBG men killed and the conditions of the wounded. The bodies were back. They came in the cargo bay of a commercial plane; United flight 651. The girls and Andy handled it all this time. I wished I could have been there to help but as I listened, I knew it wasn’t necessary.
I would see them on Wednesday night, they were coming with me to another fund raiser. All this would soon be history; there were less than sixty days to the convention.
On my desk was a note that there was to be a visitor late today. It was a Navy seaman from Norfolk. He had left a box that was now being checked for contamination by the FBI. They would have it back sometime tonight.
To take that long it must have been a big box or else whatever was in it was complicated.
I showered and went to bed after one more call to the girls.
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Book 2 Chapter 173

I opened the folder with the CIA supplied satellite pictures from this morning and handed the two to Frank, “Did you know about the covered boat pens across from AD Dammam?” I asked.
‘‘No, we knew there was construction in the area several years ago, but it was abruptly stopped during the Iran Iraq war. Then there was a group of fishing huts there for a while until they fell down,” he said.
”The fishing huts were cover for what they were really doing. I think you need to have someone go back and look at the whole Iranian coast for abnormalities. I hate those kind of surprises and don’t want to see any more,” I said.
”It is already under way,” he said.
”I think we know where they are headed with all their maneuvers. It also means they have another method of communication other than the General’s coded broadcast by Tiam – likely buried cables. There were no broadcasts from Tiam so you need to look for the connections where they all come together,” I said.
”I will put a specialist on it,” he said as he stood to leave.
A call came in from King Eluad of Saudi Arabia – it lasted thirty minutes – expressing his sympathy for the losses on the Hammann. When the call ended I had an agreement from the Saudi’s to furnish fuel for the fleet and additional bases for the US forces to use.
Next in were the Joint Chiefs for the second time this morning.
”All leaves have been canceled and those on leave have been recalled to their duty stations. The other orders you wanted are in the works,” the Chief of Naval Operations said.
The other orders were ”I want the Stennis and its task force, the Thomas and its task force at sea in three days.”
That was the time it would take to finish the nitpicky things the uniforms wanted done from the overhauls.
They also needed to load fuel, arms and food. The same would apply to the escort group of destroyers, guided missile cruisers and submarines. The air groups would land on carrier deck once they left port.
In the Pacific the Reagan task force was ordered to depart Russia tomorrow and refuel the aviation tanks, take on additional weapons and supplies at the naval base in Japan and wait for additional orders.
The Roosevelt task force was ordered to depart for the coast of East Africa in three days. The Lincoln task force was ordered to depart for India in three days. In seven days all the carriers would be within two days sailing of the Indian Ocean if a call to action was ordered.
That would leave only the Fordson – with all its problems – at the docks.
The next one for the hot seat was the State Department. I listened for thirty minutes while Secretary of State Dean read messages from various allies and from countries aligned with Iran.
All of those that were allied with Iranian were urging that the US use restraint in responding to the Iranian attack. Some were even pressuring that we take no actions. I ordered the Secretary of State to advise all our allies to remove all citizens from Iran.
Even though I couldn’t say it out loud, I had shown all the restraint I was going to show when I had not pushed the nuke button ten minutes after the attack. Absolutely everything else was on the table.
The Generals laid out the general plan for a retaliatory military action. The Navy was up to bat first and second then the Air Force third, fourth and finally the Marines and the Army.
The Marines were leaving in the amphibious assault ships by the end of the week. The amphibious assault ships in the Atlantic ports would follow the same route as the carriers.
The amphibious ships in the Pacific would sail to the Indian Ocean and stand by until the Navy and Air Force bombing campaigns were done.
The close in support would be from the Air Force and Marine A10s and various ground support helicopters. The Army would be flown to Saudi Arabia then ferried across the Strait of Hormuz in the assault ships. I liked the plan.
All the Atlantic Navy task forces would transit to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal. The target date for the first round was ten days; that was when all the carriers would be in the Indian Ocean.
The joint chiefs selected the Indian Ocean as the center of activities for the opening round because aircraft launched from there could hit all of Iran without needing flyover permission from countries that were in favor with Iran.
If they were launched from the Mediterranean Sea, they would have to fly over Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. All of which had people aligned with Iran who would certainly warn them. Plus Iran still had several military bases in Iraq from the supposedly demise of ISIS in the area. Those bases would soon be rubble as would be many more.
I called Frank to come back in and he did quickly.
”I believe there are several sites publishing our Navy’s ship movements every day and one or two doing the same for aircraft. Politely ask them to cease reporting US ship movements for a month. If they don’t, shut down their operations. If all else fails, threaten to have the Air Force destroy the satellites they are using and then do it,” I said.
The joint chiefs, Troy and I looked at the thumb drives Tom had given me this morning of the action as captured by the Go-Pro cams the JBG men were wearing. We were looking for shots that could be released to the media tonight at the 1800 news conference.
Troy had called several key Senators to sit in but none were available. So we did all the work. We picked twenty five stills of missiles being shot down, hitting the Hammann and also Iran’s fast boats be blown to bits. Four of the stills showed the massive damage to the ship.
At 1300 I was walking back to Marine One. I was going back home to eat with the family and then coming back in a couple hours. I was hoping there would be more updates and information.
The Navy was expecting to have a list of the injured and deceased and that was important. Families wanted to know about their loved ones. They needed to hear that knock on the door and be told something.
The flight was quick – too quick – I still had a thousand thoughts rambling around in my mind. Marine One landed behind the office again. This time the customary ambulance and fire engine was there. Somehow I knew there would be a TV camera there – and it was.
I stood waiting for my case as the officers were handing out briefcases and gear through the door. The case I was handed was the football with the pair of handcuffs still attached. People would flip out when that picture was shown.
I was not supposed have access to the case unless it was deemed we were under nuclear attack.
Then the officer holding it would insert his ID card, then my ID card and the case could be opened. Once opened a second ID card from the officer would be inserted, then a second card from me and the case would then go active. I could launch missiles to pre-assigned targets by flipping toggle switches. There were six rows of switches.
I waited for the officer to step out of the helicopter and handed him the case, ”I believe this belongs to you,” I said.
”Yes Ma-am, thank you,” he said.
I walked into the garage that was set up – like we usually did – with tables, chairs and food on four long tables. I was just in time for Lisa to give the blessing for the food, the hands that prepared it, and prayers for the wounded and deceased.
I helped fix plates for JJ and RJ before I fixed my own. My family, mates and I were at one table. Jason, Lisa, Jake and Mindy with her twins were at another.
The food was good, really too good. I ate too much. All the agents had an over flowing plate as well.
My phone was beeping with text messages. Most of them I could put off to later, but one or two I had to respond to, I made the answers short and sweet.
Two hours later I was back in Marine One. The rest of the family was coming over in two of the 406s later for the fireworks. I spent the trip sending text messages.
Back at the Oval Office the Navy had left two lists on my desk. One was the injured and a short assessment of their injuries, the other a list of the dead, their home towns and rank.
` I looked through the injured list. Most of the serious injuries were burns from the missiles exploding, concussions and injuries caused by flying debris. These had been transferred to hospitals in the area.
The C5 set up as an air-medic from Germany was on the ground with a full medical group aboard. Those that could be moved would be in the Army Hospital in Germany by midnight. The hospital and its doctors were the best at caring for war injuries.
I looked through the list of those killed, first on the list was Captain Wallace Binghamton and Commander McHale; both were killed when the third missile fired by the Iranian helicopters hit the bridge. The other ninety eight were from different sections of the ship.
An attached note said clergy and officers had started to notify the families. The bodies were coming into Dover tomorrow morning after a stopover in Germany for the forensic people to take DNA and tidy up the bodies first.
I wrote the statement that I was going to give tonight at 1900. The fireworks were to start at 2100. I thought it appropriate that there be time between them.
I had thirty minutes to get ready. I went to dress better than I was. At 1900 I walked to the podium as the last notes of Hail to the Chief drifted away. I gave the speech I had written.
I spoke for fifteen minutes heaping praise on the founders of our country and the celebration of our nation’s birthday. I again asked for prayers for the wounded, those that had died and all the families.
I walked back to the Oval Office with my family. We were going up to the balcony at 1945 to watch the fireworks.
Admiral Beck followed me into the office.
”The intel is showing that the Iranians are getting ready to send their submarines out to sea,” he said.
”We need to sink them with all the ships headed in that direction. Do we have any hunter killer submarines in the area that can go the job?” I asked.
”Yes, there are two in the area that can do the job. The SSN- 790 South Dakota is in the Indian Ocean as we speak and SSN-791 Delaware will be there tomorrow,” he said.
”Issue orders for the South Dakota to sink any and all Iranian submarines as long as they are in deep enough water not to be a marine navigation hazard,” I said.
I joined my family on the White House balcony and watched the fireworks. It was a great show; the boys were excited at every boom and flash. It took Takeo and Sara a while to relax and enjoy.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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