Chapter 357

Monday I was reviewing the weekend concert reports and the county police call logs for anything that happened at the convention center that was an indication of trouble. Andy was on site positioning the jersey walls to limit access to the site and maintain a desired traffic flow. Andy also had a meeting with the Montgomery County Police Chief today.

As an afterthought I sent our contract with the convention center to Howard Fine & Howard and to Curtis Warren – both of our outside legal groups – with a list of questions for both. I wanted to know exactly what our limitations were.

Even though our contract implied total control of the property from property line to property line I wanted to make sure there were no legal exceptions to the contract in Montgomery County.

In some states your gated driveway that you control access to is still considered public property for legal purposes. There are a host of state rules that allow you to be arrested standing on your driveway drinking beer or having a car parked on your driveway with expired tags, even though it is controlled by a gate. New Jersey is one of the worst with nuisance laws like that.

Burt and Robert were working up this morning’s surveillance report of the groups. A special courier delivered all the videotape from all the campaign stops that the five candidates had made. They had been smart enough to videotape all the protesters.

They were working on putting all the images into a facial recognition program that could be used at the convention center. The cameras would scan everyone coming into the convention center from the limited access lines. Anyone who had been involved in protesting we could block from entering the convention center.

I took a break to head for the coffee pot at 8. Six of the 10 were still at the meeting table working on the required HR forms. The first four had gone to the docs for physicals. The doc was going to call when he needed the next four. I sat down in one of the empty chairs to drink my coffee and worked on text.

Eric stepped off the elevator with one of the big mugs from the refreshment center and took a seat beside me.

“Well, I don’t see anything in the news this morning about any unusual happenings in Africa, so I guess you didn’t make any quick trips this weekend,” Eric was personally delivering copies of the 10 ladies military records. He had done background checks on them for me.

“No trips, I am going to wait until this weekend to create the news cycle again,” I replied. Then I added, “Do you have any unsavory characters that you want me to knock off to make it a newsworthy weekend?”

“No, not that I can think of today. If it changes I’ll let you know,” before he broke into a laugh. “You know the wimpy triplets – as you call them – would pee their pants if they heard this conversation?”

“We were at a meeting Friday going over some of the data you supplied. They were letting their departmental ego show, again. Frank asked them if they wore a cup.” Smith asked, “Why?”

“Because if BJ finds out you are slamming her intel she will start another jar just for yours. They went quiet for the rest of the meeting; I have never seen anyone get so nervous so fast. Frank has found something that finally torques them up,” Eric said with a big smile.

“You know there are some empty jars downstairs by the refreshment center cashier; I will try to remember to take one with me next time we have a joint meeting,” I replied. We both had a good laugh at that.

“Everything looks good on the files. Frank and I both signed off on them for subcontracting to us; the decisions are yours. I am going to grab an extra mug of coffee to go and head to my meeting at the agency hangar,” Eric replied.

I picked up the 10 folders and went to my office and started to read.

First was Captain Julie Synclair, 31, former Marine pilot 1500 hours in Blackhawks, 500 in Cobras and then 250 hours in Warthogs. Certified helo instructor and had been working towards certification in C130s. Commendation after Commendation, recommended for medal after medal; most were denied by the review board.

Julie was recommended for discipline for disobeying an order to withdraw from air patrol leaving the grunts with no air cover during a heavy battle before the replacement plane arrived. That recommendation was withdrawn after pressure from a four star general. Apparently the episode left a bad taste; she left the Marines shortly after.

Marine Captain Bambi Firestone, 32, was the next one, also a pilot; 1200 hours in Blackhawks. Bambi had crash landed a Blackhawk at a MASH unit after taking heavy fire on a Medivac run. Blond with a cute face, below the face was built like a linebacker for the Cowboys. Must have spent hours in the gym; I suspected she was one of those ladies who had tried to move into Special Ops.

Marine Captain Lexy Ford, 33, was the third pilot. Lexy had a thousand hours in Blackhawks and was trying to make the move to Warthogs when she rotated out. Medals, awards and commendations filled page after page in her file.

I wondered why Eric had put the three pilots on top of the pile: then I remembered that Frank also had gone through the pile. A note from Frank that they would be approved for agency flights was on each one of the three.

Marine Sergeant Cynthia Hunt, 30, was the second lady I suspected of trying out for special ops. Her file has multiple reports and request from her to take the field test only to be denied by her superiors.

Sergeant Amber Tull, 31, the only black in the group. Amber had a clean record with as many commendations and medals as the rest. The scores and evaluations were very good. I wondered why she had left the Army; she should have easily made the transition to officer school.

Army Sergeant Gail Dexter, 33, good record with no blemishes; she was offered officer training and had turned it down before leaving the army.

Marine Sergeant Alene Pepper, 32, was another one that looked good on paper.

Army Sergeant Mandy Burdet, 34, her records were as good as the rest.

Marine Sergeant Babette Downs,, 33 another good one on paper.

Air Force Sergeant Jackie Deere, 32, just good paper same as the rest. The pilots would give us flexibility that we did not have before.

I wondered how we were going to do the recurrent training for the chopper pilots we had in South America and Africa. These three ladies answered the question – if they still wanted to fly.

Not only did they need recurrent training, they needed a check ride for every aircraft we had that they qualified to fly and a sign off with Jack every year for the insurance company. Now, if there were no personality conflicts Jack had a helper and we had extra pilots to do it with.

My enthusiasm about finally getting to where we needed to be with personnel was short lived. After lunch I was summoned to a VCATS conference with Victor and Amy.

“We are working on next year’s budget and there may be more demands placed on your security and aviation divisions. We are looking to expand from your current 80 embassies to 120, all of them in Africa and the Middle East. Then, increasing the number of high risk embassies from 18 to 40,” Victor said then continued.

“The number of armored Suburban’s and helicopters will be increased; I do not have the numbers yet but at least one of each at the new assignments,” Victor replied.

“We will need as much advance notice as we can get on an implementation date. I am assuming that the helicopters will be 407s or equal. Will there be start up or advance funding for the new sites?” I replied.

It will be a multi-year contract – 5, possibly 10 years – and I anticipate that your current contract will be extended to match,” Victor replied.

“It should not be a problem; just keep me informed,” I replied and then signed off.

Every time we advertized for help we were flooded with applicants, this should be no different I thought, besides it was months away. Far more important things than that were on for this weekend.

Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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