I had just signed off with Amy when Marcy came online with rest of the girls. They were watching the breaking news stories about the attack on the King Khalid International Airport by unknown militants but had no clue what had happened and what was still on going at the Morocco Embassy. I began the dreadful task of filling everyone in on the details. After questions with the limited answers because it was still a active assault, it was time to take control of the situation.
“Jason I need you to pull the files on Albert Koons and Phil Adams. I want to know everything about them then we need to do some advance planning. You guys need to brainstorm our part of the funerals,” I said. “Send me a copy of the files in an email,”
“The State department will fly the bodies to Dover AFB. From there things will depend on JBG and the families,” I stated.
“Marcy, will you and Jenny research the insurance end? I know we picked up equal insurances to what Black Water had. I want to know how much the life insurance coverage was. Also have Jeanna run a personal financial statement on each of them,” I said. “I want to know what JBG needs to do to help the families.
“Also Marcy, get an update on the new armored SUVs; if a couple are not ready we need to rent some,” I said.
“Jason, one more thing, when we took over from Black Water, in the HR part of it there were several dozen applicants wanting jobs and I know we have been getting some on our own. If I remember right, we sent both of those lists to Eric to run checks on them. Has Eric sent them back yet?” I asked.
“Yes, they are here. I put them in the pre approved file until we needed them,” Jason replied.
“Go through the lists and pick out the 30 who look the best, then have Roseanne call and find out if they still want jobs. Get them interviewed as soon as possible, pay their plane tickets to BWI if you have to and pick them up from there,” I replied.
There was almost a chorus, “What have you got on your mind – what are you planning?” the group asked me.
“We have to replace the two people who died right away. The other thirteen who are there need to come out. They need time to mourn and heal. They need to see the docs. For that to happen, we need replacements and we need them now,” I said.
“We will call the new group of ours The Rapid Response Team. I want them fully trained and ready to go at a moments notice. We can have them at any of the eighty embassies in a day. We can use them at the colleges if necessary. With all the recertification’s we have to do, simply rotate one or two complete embassy teams at a time,” I said.
Keep in mind, key to hiring this is that they must know the languages of the places we want to send as a response team.
The discussion went on for a few more minutes, and then two or three things happened at once that pulled me away from the meeting on the SVOL system. I left Vicky to hash it out with them.
One – A new fuel truck pulled up followed by a Humvee carrying none other than a one star general and a major by his side.
“Ma-am, I believe there has been some misunderstanding between your pilots and our fuel truck operators. General McJames put everyone on the right page in the book a few minutes ago. I want to apologize for the misunderstanding. Major Braxton will insure that the fueling is done properly to the satisfaction of your pilots, along with the paper work that is needed,” the smiling general replied.
The second thing was Captain Horsey, Bob and Emily with Bob Jr. in tow, still in his flight suit walking our way. When they stopped in front of us I said, “Bob, it looks like you found someone who you know.”
Bob made the introductions, and then Vance and Josh helped them gather up all Bob and Emily’s bags.
“The on-base guest quarters were locked in for the Jacksons, and your ride just cleared the gate – so we are good to go here,” Captain Horsey commented.
“Bob, if we don’t see you before we leave, we will see you in four or five days,” I said. “Be careful.”
The third thing was two of our black Suburbans along with a Humvee in front and one bringing up the rear – both with mini guns manned – pulled up to our plane. ‘Let the fun begin,’ I thought.
Brad Johnson, the driver and Brendon Kunder stepped out of the first Suburban, “Hello boss, we are here to take you and Vicky to the embassy now that the Saudis have things under control in their sector.”
“Ok by me, but first I need to finish up a meeting I am having on our SVOL system.” I went back in the plane, told the gang back home that our rides were here and that we needed to go. Vicky and I would pick up this conversation at our check-in time. We grabbed our things and headed to the SUVs.
“BJ, you ride with me, Vicky, you ride in the second SUV with Kyle Sanders and Chris Roseburg,” Brad said.
“That’s the way we are doing things today just to be safe,” Brad said. As we made our way to the embassy district we had to go by the International Airport.
The International Airport was the target for sure, several jetliners had been hit with RPG’s and were still smoldering; they were just scrap metal now. As we passed, I noticed that a lot of planes had bullet holes in them. I need to have a talk with Vicky so she could decompress a little after seeing all the devastation as we drove by.
There were plenty of bodies lying around near the perimeter fence and six pickup trucks that the terrorist had used were full of holes and burnt or overturned. Several had gotten inside the fence but did not make it far. I was glad we had been diverted; I wanted no parts of this mess.
The rest of the day went without incident and we followed the pattern we set from our previous embassy stops.
Vicky and I interviewed our employees then met with the State Department embassy officials for a squawk sheet of things that needed improvement.
There was another state dinner we had to attend with Saudi princes on the guest list too. The department knew how to throw a first class party; they even had a band for entertainment.
There was dance music but it seemed that no one wanted to be the one to break the ice with so many Saudi guests in attendance – even though there was a large dance floor. I surmised that they were afraid that they would insult some prince.
Sitting across from Vicky and I was a gentleman I took for a career diplomat. From the dinner talk I gathered he was well versed on the social arena of the diplomatic business. Austin Freeman was slowly nodding his head to the beat of the old classical music the band was playing.
“Austin, are there any rules forbidding dancing here?” I asked.
“No, it’s just that no one wants to be first,” he replied.
“I’m game if you are. Something old fashioned would fit the bill, do you know how to waltz to Blue Danube by Strauss?” I asked.
His eyes lit up, “Yes, shall we?” I nodded.
He wrote the name on a slip of paper and our waiter gave it to the conductor who immediately nodded.
I stood and met Austin on the end of the dance floor and waited for the band to start. The Blue Danube was an easy waltz and one of my favorites from years ago.
We started smooth and just got better as the dance progressed. The band played forever, it seemed. Apparently there was a long version. There was applause when we finally finished.
Austin asked if I knew another one that was again one of his favorites. “It has been a while – I think I still remember it – see if the band can play it,” I replied.
Austin and I danced to two more and this time there were over a dozen couples on the floor with us. The ice had been broken and the party was now a party – it was still a restrained one – but never the less, an embassy party.
Vicky leaned over, “You know you are going to teach me how to do them when we get back home; it looks like fun.”
Ambassador Cale Harper and his wife made their way over just before Vicky and I were ready to call it a night. Our room for tonight was the guest room in the ambassador’s residence.
Vicky and I accompanied them to the living quarters for a nightcap before calling it a night. For us it was a cover story; there were several large files in my e-mail that I need a laptop to view and needed my attention tonight
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.