Patti and I left a few minutes early today. Bob had called me not once but twice since he and Chancellor Nobles were in my office this morning. The first was to tell me that Emily, his wife was happy and overjoyed about the trip. As to the second call, Bob was not having second thoughts about the trip but wondering – if after going through all this trouble – if his son would be able to get time off to see them. Bob Jackson Jr. was an F18 pilot at one of the several US bases in the Middle East. I told him I would make a call to see if I could find out and asked for his unit details and where Jr. was stationed. If I had to, I would try to pull some strings.
“If nothing else, they would be able to tell all their friends that they vacationed in the Middle East this year. At least they would still be able to do some sight seeing,” I replied.
Before our nightly meeting started I pulled up the Middle East map and planned out the tentative route. Leave on Wednesday afternoon from Morton field. First stop on Thursday, at the US base in Riyadh to drop off the Jackson’s stay over for a meet and greet then off to Masqat Oman on Friday. I planned to visit Abu Dhabi UAE on Saturday and Doha Qatar on Sunday. On Sunday fly back to Riyadh to pick up Bob and Emily then on to Kuwait City to finish out the trip. Arrive in Kuwait city on Monday, do my thing at the embassy then fly home Monday night, making it a five day five embassy trip. I sent the list to Director Amy Lockerman in an e-mail.
The next call was to General Kevin McJames, the liaison between the State Department and the DOD who we used for the in-flight refueling for the C130 flights. I explained what I was after and if it was possible to verify that Bob Jackson JR was still assigned to the US base in Riyadh.
I then asked if a surprise visit by the parents was acceptable. I knew in the marines, when somebody’s family showed up the gunnies always found a way to give you extra duty to make sure there was little time together. I had seen that done many times. I didn’t want to see that happen here
“The appropriate military response is that there is no way to guarantee that he will not be on assignment by the time you arrive. He is there now, according to the logs, and I see no training scheduled for the next 7 days,” he said.
“Make sure they and you stay in approved motels anytime you are in that part of the world. I will send you a list. There is on-base guest housing, availability depends on how many VIP’S are visiting. I will try to reserve rooms for your group for the night and a place for them for their stay. I will know tomorrow and pass it on to you when I find out,” Kevin replied.
I made it to our meeting just as Marcy was ready to get started. Renay Reese had been promoted to senior administrator of security under Cindy. With Cindy in Minnesota she was making her first appearance at our regular afternoon meetings giving us the updates for the day’s activities.
The same was true for Katrina Keller – she had just been promoted in Ching Lee’s training group. Ching Lee had insisted that anyone under her would be able to do training on the gym floor so the process to advance was a little slower. Katrina was ex-army and had been one of those ladies who had tried twice to get into the Army’s Special Forces.
Katrina easily held her own on our training modules. It took some time to change from the Army mentality to a security mode.
JBG was growing, I hoped not faster than I wanted too. People were being hired to fill the positions that were left open because of all the promotions as a result of the State Department contract. MY security department needed more and so did Marcy on the accounting side.
The only section that had not changed was Jamie’s fire arms training class. She was still doing them by herself.
I presented the travel plan for my Mideast trip with leaving by 4 tomorrow afternoon and the stops I was going to make. Then I made the conference call to Ching Lee and Vicky to see which one of them wanted to go along.
Ching Lee decided that she wanted to wait until I went to Asia. Her reasoning was sound; she wanted those trips to follow her family’s history. I could understand that. I was planning to do the same with any European trips.
The Jones family had migrated to America as indentured employees of the A&P Tea Company in the late 1600s, as many of the early settlers had done.
For 20 years two thirds of everything they produced went to the Tea Company’s representatives to pay for the voyage and for one year’s (Protection). That was a campsite within the Tea Company’s land grant and within the Kings Fort for protection for one year. A family had to have a hut or cabin to live in outside the fort after the year to make room for the next summer’s arrivals.
Many families partnered with another family to make sure they had a cabin completed by the first year and worked together the following year on the second cabin. That should have made for some interesting nights.
As a kid I had read stories where families all slept in the same bed to share body heat in the cold winters. I wondered how much sharing went on under those covers.
The men worked on the cabin and hunted wildlife for food while the women tended the gardens and smoked or salted the fish and meat to preserve it for the long winter. The Tea Company got the best of the animal skins, beaver, fox and bear to ship back to Europe and two thirds of the meat, vegetables and grain to feed the sailors.
It was no wonder that so many settlements failed. They simply worked to physical exhaustion which left them too weak to fight off disease and then also starved to death in the winters. It made true reinforcement for the old saying that “Only the strong survive.”
I could just imagine how that kind of arrangement would be received today. But then again, government runs the same scam today and they call it taxes. If one were to factor in all the hidden taxes into everything, 80 percent of every dollar goes to taxes.
I was daydreaming and listening to the meeting at the same time. I was jarred back to reality as Lorrie was discussing the winter snow forecast and everything Robbie had put into place. Robbie had found two new snow melting machines.
These machines were fired by propane or butane which burned even hotter than the ones we already had. The new ones were much larger and more efficient than the machines that Lorrie had bought last fall. The company was willing to give her more than she paid for it as a trade in.
Dad had made a deal with the local road building contractor to leave two front end loaders and a road grader in the super hangar out of the weather but for use if we needed them for snow removal. We just had to pay for the hours we put on them if we did.
It had a hopper that you loaded snow in with a front end loader and a belt that carried it into a big tank that melted it into hot water that ran out of an over flow. The video the company had sent indicated that it would melt snow as fast as two front end loaders could put it into the hopper.
My concern was that only one runway and the tarmacs were covered by the experimental system. If there was a mishap on that runway, the airport could be forced to close. We needed both runways operational – even in bad weather – if possible.
The FAA was sending a delegation to stay at Morton Field in ten days and observe our winter operations. I guessed that the powers to be had finally looked at the late January and February snow forecast and wanted the experts to make a decision on the multi-million experimental systems they had paid for.
Lea Purdy was working the customer window for both the gym and tanning booth. With the addition of spray-on tanning it was busier than ever. Lea also monitored the parking lot and garage video cams and saw all the limos pulling in.
“BJ, are you expecting any VIPs?” she asked after I answered my phone.
“Yes; Have someone bring them up,” I replied.
As we were finishing up the meeting Wendy brought up the politicians and they each had an aide with them. As usual, Wendy was wearing her normal tanning room attire, a thong bikini and barely there top. I expected some comments after she left to go back downstairs. But none came.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.