Wednesday was like Tuesday only, a little smoother. We were all making the time zone transition and the men the shift transition; everyday was a little easier. Two more ambassadors came to see me on Wednesday. The Brazilian and Australian ambassadors came in the morning. Two more off my list that I needed to present credentials to.
Wednesday was the UPS announcement at Morton Field in the terminal. It was noon when it began and the girls had bought our own TV type camera and was broadcasting it on our SVOL system that we used with our college security.
The Office could now broadcast live to all of our locations important events and conferences at one time. The girls were no longer trapped with only the people we could cram into my or Marcy’s office.
I was using my laptop with the Department’s satellite internet and I was in the theater room with my group watching.
The UPS executives made their announcement followed by Lorrie and Marcy and then the local politicians. I sent “Congrats, you did a great job,” by text.
Thursday Andy and his men started building the flag wall. The John Deere dealer did in fact have a post hole digging attachment in stock at twice the price. I guess ocean shipping was expensive. An adjoining dealer had a gas powered concrete mixer that Andy had bought. I wondered why we needed it.
Thursday must have been a free day for ambassadors; four came in the morning and four more in the afternoon. At this rate all on the list were going to beat me to the punch and come to me before I could get to them
Some of them had really done their homework on me and JBG. I wondered if the State department had sent out a fact sheet on me or something to the diplomatic world.
It was after supper before Andy and I made the tour of the grounds. On one side of the embassy the sand for the volley ball court had been leveled and the net was up. At last, a place to exercise and I needed it.
“All the sandbags that we need are on the roof, so I had the men level the rest for you,” Andy said.
“Thank you, I need the exercise,” I replied.
On the other side of the building that was the area that we suspected the terrorists would strike, the heavy framework was completed for the blast deflector.
Andy explained that he was using heavy 6×6 timbers for the frame and braces, bolted instead of nailed. They had several string lines run to keep it straight. I saw what he had bought the cement mixer for; they were filling all the holes with concrete from those redi-mix bags; just add water and mix.
“The lumber yard will have all the wood in tomorrow morning to start on the front of it along with the barn wood screws. The paint will be here at noon,” Andy said.
“Oh, the owner of the lumber yard wants you to stop by so he can personally thank you for the business. I gather things have been terribly slow for them; he even gave you a contractor’s discount. I did have to pay with cash,” Andy said.
“Give the receipts to Linda and I will show her how to get them to Marcy. See me in the morning and I will replace the spent cash,” I replied. “Everything looks good. How long will it take to finish the front?”
“Not that long; I ordered 12 inch lumber so it will fill space quickly. It is heavy but with the skid steer it will be no problem,” Andy replied. “When the front is up and painted we are done with everything we had planned so far. Then it will be time to look at it again.”
I spent some time on VCATS checking in with embassies where JBG had security. I would complete that task tomorrow. Tomorrow I was also going to start hitting the forty newly contracted embassies to start transition planning.
I spent an hour on VCATS with Jenny and the girls; they were pumped up about how well the news conference went for the UPS announcement.
Linda, Alice, Ellen and I were finally getting comfortable around each other. At first I was the only one sleeping naked, now all four of us were.
Friday morning started off well but went to hell in 10 minutes. Several ambassadors called, one right after the other, including Canadian Ambassador Morrison and British Ambassador Fauntroy. I was the only embassy that had a chopper assigned to it and they had a humanitarian emergency.
The Doctors without Borders group had a clinic with a portable surgical unit for refugees from the South Sudan civil war in the town of Nimule. Their generator was dying and they needed immediate help. Without the generator the surgery unit was done.
The Canadians and the British were big supporters of the Doctors without Borders Humanitarian efforts.
“Peter how large of a generator do they need, and what voltage?” I asked.
“I’ll get back to you,” he replied.
I called Bambi, Lexy, Julie and Andy in to explain the request and plan logistics while we waited for Ambassador Morrison to reply.
“We have enough fuel on board with the extended tanks; it is 228 miles one way, roughly 460 round trip,” Bambi replied.
It was 10 more minutes before Morrison called back, “All their equipment was donated by Johns Hopkins; 120 volt and the generators were 8KW, whatever that is.”
“I can give them 2 10 KW Hondas that are brand new. I have sent a couple of men to get gas and oil for them. The chopper should be in the air in half an hour,” I replied to Ambassador Morrison.
“Will there be room for myself and Ambassador Fauntroy on the chopper? The DWB have a really big following in our countries,” he replied.
“Sure, but you have to understand – only one chopper – there will be no armed escort,” I replied.
“Andy, send someone to get a case of oil for the generators; 10w30 I think,” I replied.
“Can we carry a drum of gasoline for the generators?” I asked the pilots.
“How about we carry 5 gallon cans? If something happens it will be easier to chunk them out the door,” they replied.
“I’ll send someone to pick those things up. 10 cans if we can find them?” Andy asked as he left the room.
I had no intention of going, but those other two ambassadors were going. I probably should go too if it was going to be that big of a PR event. The Washington bosses should like good PR.
“Andy, I think two armed guards should go, who will you send?” I asked.
“Boomer and Sidney,” Andy replied.
“Bambi and Lexy will be pilot and copilot, Julie – come with me, I have a job for you,” I said.
I opened the JBG computer and keyed in Boomers, Sidney’s, Bambi, Lexy and my JBG ID, checked all the boxes and activated the tracking program. Google was going to love me when Marcy paid the bill for that; Marcy, not so much I would suspect.
Then I remembered that the chopper had the GPS locator that Marcy used in the MAAR cars. When both screens became active I hit the record and then sent the screen to the communications room where the big screen monitors were.
I put my bullet-proof vest on under my shirt and my shoulder holster under my jacket along with four extra clips in my pocket.
“Julie, I want you and Andy to monitor the flight from here and coordinate communications and rescue if necessary,” I instructed as I gave her one of the satellite phones after I programmed my number into it.
“Yes ma-am,” Julie replied as she watched me button the jacket. Andy nodded.
At my desk I sent Marcy an email with the same instructions. She would see it as soon as she got up.
I had just finished up when Morrison and Fauntroy came in the Lobby.
When we arrived at the chopper four of the rear seats were out, ten safety gas cans were stored all the way back with two of the generators in front of them.
Boomer and Sidney walked to us each carrying an M16 and an ammo box.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.