We had barely made it to the fancy pillared front door when one of those weaknesses became apparent with all hell breaking loose; bullets started bouncing all around us. At the same time several Molotov cocktails came over the security fence. There were people trying to force open the main gate. I had a bad feeling that I had arrived in the middle of another Benghazi nightmare.
My first thought was the shooter in the building across the street; I could see the muzzle flashes in third story window. The building was indeed derelict; many windows broken out, others boarded up. Only the third story looked used at all.
It only took an instant to realize that it was used to spy on our embassy by a variety of people, world powers when needed, local elements and even the Columbian government. All stressed governments wanted to know who their prominent citizens were talking to.
Our government was no different but had taken it to a new level in the electronic age. Torture was no longer necessary to gather everything you wanted to know about anyone.
The second volley of Molotov cocktails came over the fence, free falling far short of hitting anything important. I suspected the gunfire was to make us keep our heads down while other things were being carried out. No one had been hit by the gunfire and we were easy targets, far too easy to miss unless it was intentional.
Owen and Roberto ran to close the heavy disaster gate designed for real emergencies. Vicky and I ran around the back to look at the rear entrance. We made the corner just in time to see four men inside the gate. Two had automatic rifles the other two were being handed gas cans over the top of the gate. All four were wearing ski masks.
I yelled in English “Hands up, drop the guns,” Vicky did the same in Spanish. They turned the guns that had been pointed in the air as they were helping their companions and leveled them to body height and started firing.
More of the sweet sweeper mentality weapons training; start wide, pull the trigger and sweep the area – you were bound to hit something.
They were forty yards away, a tough shot for a pistol but we had trained for the tough shots; anyone can make the easy ones. If you cannot hit the target with a kill shot at ten yards, put the handgun in the safe and forget it, reach for the shotgun instead. Thirty and forty yard shots separate the wannabe from the professionals and we were professionals.
Vicky was to my right and in all the training I had given, protocol was the person on the right was responsible for people on the right. At that distance the 40 cal. slug drops like a rock and the action of the gun makes it pull to the right while firing multiple shots. I aimed at his right ear and pulled the trigger three times.
It was more of my military training that I passed on to everyone who went through my training courses. Fire three shot groups for the kill and move to the next target. The exception to the rule was unless you were facing overwhelming numbers and the ammo supply was in doubt, and then it came down to your skill and confidence level.
If you had to pull the weapon and fire, making it a kill shot was the only acceptable outcome in my playbook. I finally convinced Jamie to teach that tactic to all my employees. I did not want a wounded individual to roll over and shoot an employee in the back when their attention was directed elsewhere.
I had taken one round in the vest before I finished firing and it hurt like hell. Thankfully we had brought the latest vests we had, we upgraded to Kevlar, the fifth generation super strong and yet thin and with light-weight ceramic plates to allow comfort and movement. Now I knew I would find out how good they were in a minute or two.
I wondered if Vicky had been hit but she fired her three round burst moments after I did. That question was answered by, “Damn that fucking hurts. Are you OK BJ?”
The two men carrying the automatic weapons were in a pile. The other two inside the back gate were trying to reach for the moon and suddenly became very good at English. “Don’t shoot we surrender, don’t shoot,” while the others on top of the gate and on the other side had run off
By now agents from both JBG and the agency group were with us and immediately cuffed the two that had surrendered and removed their hoods they were wearing. They did the same to the dead ones, while checking them for identification. The two prisoners suddenly didn’t speak English anymore but were demanding to speak to the Somalia Embassy representative in North African gibberish.
With the incursion of the compound foiled and the action out front under control I turned my attention to Vicky. She was holding her chest with a very painful expression on her face but I saw no tears and thank God no blood.
“Tell me I am going to be able to breathe again any time soon,” she said.
I moved her arms out of the way to look at her chest. The vest had stopped two rounds six inches apart and I could see the slugs still embedded in the material of the vest.
I pointed to the slug in my vest and said, “You have two; we need to get you x-rayed to check for cracked ribs but it may be best to do it back home. If you think you can wait, I will look at you when we get inside.”
The conversation was ended by yelling from the front of the embassy. I pointed to Vicky, “You, inside NOW,” as I followed the group to the front. We left the inside guys to take care of the mess out back.
The Molotov cocktails were getting more accurate and more distance. The guys on the dilapidated building were no longer trying as hard to miss. Owen, Ralph and I were crouched beside the Suburban using it to block the incoming rifle rounds. The practically new armored Suburban was being used for target practice.
“That building is a tinder box. Those gas cans are still out back; do you have any glass bottles?” I asked.
“Yeah, out back – the recycle glass bin is full,” Owen responded. We went in the passenger side of the Suburban and drove around the back. None of the rifle bullets had penetrated into the passenger compartment yet, testifying to the integrity of the contractor who did the armor modification. But if they kept hitting the same spots in the 1 inch thick glass, it would not hold up much longer.
Ralph headed for the gas cans while I selected glass bottles that I thought would shatter easily. Owen went in the back door for matches, a propane torch and a funnel from the garage area.
Five minutes later we were back at the Suburban and quickly filled the two dozen beer bottles with gasoline. Yes, it was real gas, none of the 10% ethanol slow burning crap. Owen had grabbed a handful of rags. I ripped them in strips and folded each several times, then shoved them in the full bottles as stoppers with a piece of wooden dowel. The cotton rags would act as a wick to stay lit.
“Owen, drive right beside the fence. As soon as Ralph and I get the bottles unloaded, drive back to the building and give us covering fire,” I said.
With the torch lit and resting against the wall, Ralph and I lit each bottle and threw them as hard as we could against the old wooden building. What gas that didn’t stick to the building fell back down on the protesters on the street.
After the first four or five bottles, the noise on the street diminished, the protest was over for now and they were clearing out of the street at a run. Ralph and I threw all two dozen bottles against the building, some into the windows. We spread them out the entire length of the building for good measure.
The building was already an inferno when the last bottle hit it. The protesters were now blocking the end of the street slowing down the fire brigade. Owen drove the Suburban over to pick us up and parked it to give us cover to get into the building.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.