Crash put the coolers on a tray to bring them to us.
“I’ll carry them over for you, I’ll have a Bud or a Bud Lite if you have it,” the General replied.
The General almost dropped the tray into the tub when he looked up from the tray at the edge of the tub. He did not expect to see us in the tub naked.
“Um, oops, ah, I’m sorry, I think Crash set me up,” the General said.
Ching Lee, Marcy and Jenny laughed so hard, they almost woke the boys up.
“Crash, did you set the General up?” I asked.
“No ma-am; I thought Marines were trained to handle anything on the spot, including being a gentleman. I know us Army Air Corps folks were; I guess he just has to get used to things around here,” Crash replied then he started laughing.
“I get the rocking grape, Marcy gets sour grape, Ching Lee gets watermelon, Vicky gets the twisted orchard, and Jenny gets the natural grape juice,” I said.
Crash had turned two rockers towards the highway away from the hot tub. We had rockers everywhere, it seemed, and moved the small table between them while the General was trying to hide his embarrassment.
“You were in the Army Air Corps?” the general said.
“Yep, drafted in June 1942 right out-a school; I had been flying Jennys down at the dirt strip on the island. I did the mail run to Baltimore once a day from June until November 41. I had just finished flying lessons and got a license when old Burt crashed his Model A into a tree and broke both legs,” Crash said and then continued.
“Burt charged me a dollar a lesson and I had to put gas in the plane. A lesson was an hour; the plane used 75 cents in gas. He had a contact with the post office that had to be kept. Burt begged Dad to let me fly the route until school started; I got 2 dollars a day. Thought I was a millionaire,” Crash said.
“I flew B17s while bombing France and Germany, got shot up a lot over Germany but had luck on my side. Those Luftwaffe fighters were bad news. I manage to survive two rotations before coming back to the States. When I reported to go back, my orders had been changed,” Crash said.
“I went to California to learn how to fly B29s that were new. When we went out to look at that thing the first time, it looked like a monster, big and shiny. Took four months and then we flew a squadron first to Hickman and then to Guam. I flew out of Guam until the end of the war. They were still killing Japs out of the caves and tunnels the whole time we were there,” Crash said.
“You fight in the mess in the middle east?” Crash asked.
“I went from the academy to the Vietnam rice patties. Spent a few years in Korea after Nam; I was getting ready to give it up and become a civilian after Desert Storm when 911 hit. I was promoted to general two months later,” the General replied.
“I moved to the Pentagon a year ago, I was glad to get away from there; I have seen enough sand and sand flies,” he said.
“And now you have the gravy duty that goes with the rank,” Crash replied.
“Sometimes it is not so gravy; some of the politicians and ambassadors are spoiled so rotten! But, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem with this assignment,” the General said.
The buzzer went off; fun time in the tub was over. I help get the babies ready for bed; Jenny had to do the nipple part. Burping, new pampers and a few minutes in the rocking chair ended the night for them.
After a round of good nights, hugs and kisses, Lorrie and I exchanged places. I went to her and Vicky’s room and her to my room with Jenny.
There were a couple of hours of moans and whimpers and sounds of pleasure before it was cuddle time. I woke up at 6 with Vicky spooned tight in my arms, something I was soon going to miss so much.
By 6:15 the percolator was sending the fresh coffee smell throughout the house. The girls wandered out one by one for coffee or juice. The General followed Crash down.
I had the griddles on the stove and filled with cooking food, rows of bacon, sausage and scrapple. Another griddle was filled with eggs, scrambled and fried. I had chopped up potatoes to round out the things on the stove for breakfast.
At eight I was sitting at my desk working on e-mails and multitasking on VCATS. There were three times as many secure e-mails as before with my new security clearance and position.
Maybe I was paranoid but today I decided to use one of the new armored Suburbans that was waiting to be shipped to the Middle East. The up-fitter was just now finishing the second order Marcy had made. Now, there was an order for forty more.
In the e-mails was the full equipment list from Andy along with the sizes for the body armor I had requested. I gave the list to the General to get him out of my hair for a few minutes. I also gave him an additional list of things we were taking; 10 pallets of equipment, the two Suburbans and the Blackhawk.
Then to put him on the spot, “What kind of plane is the DOD supplying to carry all the equipment? By the way, we need to be at the compound at 9:30 to observe equipment testing. Then I have an 11:30 meeting at KCC.”
Frank, Eric, and Kevin were just parking at the compound when the General and I stepped out of the truck. Howie started the conversation by first explaining the test site in the center street between the two block buildings that he and his crew had set up.
“We made a 20 foot circle out of the pile of pallets by placing them vertical and putting them together with screws. There is a red three foot target area in the center. This morning we lined the inside with cardboard. The cardboard will allow us to see the true effectiveness and dispersal pattern of the hardware,” Howie said.
“I tested the device wiring before I loaded the charge and hardware; it’s ready to be loaded on the drone. There are two recording cameras; one on top of each of the block buildings aimed at the center of the drop area. The drone targeting camera is being recorded on the laptop. Everything is ready,” Howie said.
I called the tower to find out how close any planes were to the area. There were none within 15 minutes. Then I called the 911 emergency numbers and talked to the day supervisor.
“This is BJ Jones at Morton field. We are conducting a controlled explosive demolition. There will be one explosion – it may be loud – if you get any calls. It will happen in the next ten minutes,” I said.
We moved 200 yards away and turned on all the laptops that controlled the cameras.
“Let’s do it,” I said.
Howie changed out the safety in the device from the red hardened steel to the green poly shear pin and turned the key to activate the unit.
“Green light, take her up Charlie, put her over target,” Howie said.
This was the full 100 pound version; it lifted off without any hesitation. We stood behind the suburban looking at the video feed from the drone and watching the drone quickly get into position.
Martin had one of the expensive shoulder video cameras like the porn companies used – he claimed. He was following the drone from liftoff and then following the device as it fell.
As soon as the camera acquired the red target Charlie dropped the device. “Bomb’s away.” With the weight gone as the device dropped free, the drone elevated several hundred feet in a split second.
There was one hell of an explosion. The pallet circle was blown apart, the pallets flat on the ground like a domino circle.
We walked to the circle to look at the pattern the ball bearings had left on the cardboard that had been on the pallets. Martin filmed the patterns so Andy could analyze how effective it would be. I walked around and looked at every piece of cardboard filled with hundreds of holes. I was satisfied that we had the last line of defense if we needed it.
“Howie, can you deliver all the laptops and the video card from the camera to my office. The four of you be in my office at three and we will send Andy the video as we do a conference call. You men did a great job – I think Andy will be pleased – I know I am,” I replied.
“General, we’ve got to go or we are going to be late for my meeting,” I said.
The general and I walked into the administrative meeting room at KCC with five minutes to spare.
Bob Jackson, Mr. Nobles, and John Jenkins were waiting for me.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.