At 6:30 we were sitting in the Hilton Hilltop restaurant eating a limited few American foods. The hilltop catered to British and American tourists. Of course I was recognized and had to have pictures taken and autographs.
The embassy attack had been broadcast worldwide, plus the Nimule camp was getting all kinds of air play in Britain. Every media station in Britain and Ireland had made treks to the camp and several others, according to Ambassador Fauntroy.
I completed calls to British Ambassador Fauntroy and Canadian Morrison telling them I was back in Kampala. I asked that if they had time to come to Entebbe in a couple hours to see what I had brought for the camp.
I called Israeli Ambassador Dansky to tell him that I had brought gifts from his friends in America and that he could pick them up in a couple hours at our Entebbe hangar.
Three taxis carried us to the US Embassy. Vicky, Robin, Rachel, Bob, Phil and I were going to meet with Ambassador Bernardi and then fly to Entebbe in the chopper so the pilots could give the one we brought a good checkout. Bob and a couple of Andy’s men were driving one of the Suburbans assigned to Ambassador Bernardi to Entebbe and we were going to keep it for a few days.
A couple of my men were going to take the truck and trailer back to hangar 17 to load up all the crates we had brought that contained the wish list of supplies for my men and the embassy.
The group of men who went from the motel to the hangar included the pilots, load masters and helicopter technicians. Major Culpepper – along with Hanna and her camera man Sylvester Combs – went with them.
For them the first order of business was to unload the chopper so the mechanics could go to work putting it together and test it out.
At the embassy, after a quick meeting with Ambassador Bernardi and introductions, he informed me that he too wanted to fly to Entebbe to check things out.
The truck and trailer left as soon as we got to the embassy; the chopper, Suburban and one of the cars Andy had bought left 45 minutes later.
When we landed, Hanna was already filming; the truck was in the process of being loaded with the stuff for the embassy. It soon finished loading and the crates were strapped down. It left for the embassy; I guessed that we would see it back in a couple hours or a little longer.
The chopper mechanics had the rotors installed and were rechecking all the things from the shop check list. The two pilots walked over to help them finish the checklist so they could go play in the air.
I was giving Bernardi a tour of the plane and then the hangar when Ambassador Dansky arrived with the two cars that I suggested he bring. Both were full when I put the last box in.
The forklift began the task of sorting out the medicines for tomorrow’s trek to Nimule. The meds were going to be divided between both choppers and loaded today.
I was not going to leave part of it in the hangar like the food we had brought. I wanted the docs to have the meds and be responsible for it. I would feel bad if someone broke into the hangar and stole it.
The pilots were ready to go through the power and flight control test. To escape any flying debris and dust, everyone ducked into the hangar until the chopper went through the procedure and then a short flight test.
Vicky had brought several of the handheld aviation radios that the ground persons used to position and monitor aircraft transitioning Morton Field so we could maintain communications with the helicopters. The pilot radioed that the chopper’s test was satisfactory and they were going to fly it to Kampala and back for an extended test.
Kampala was too far for the hand held radios so the best we could do was monitor the general aviation frequency and wait.
“Ambassador Dansky that is the chopper that Ben-David and I have been discussing. It is going to be left here in this hangar, we may at some point use this hangar as a maintenance site for both choppers as needed,” I said.
“I was led to believe that you either have qualified persons to fly it or at times I may have to supply a crew and security for you,” I said.
“Mossad and I have had several discussions. They are going to send me several more men and two are to be qualified,” he replied.
“Ben-David speaks very highly of your people he has met and you. We are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship between our two organizations,” he replied.
“Once they arrive, contact me and we will develop a policy on how to handle any defects or problems that show up. I want to make sure that it is always ready for either of our groups to use,” I replied.
Our conversation had finished when Ambassadors Morrison and Fauntroy arrived. The forklift had been unloading the food and putting most of it in the hangar. I had decided that we would carry one third tomorrow and in three weeks my men could carry another third and then in three more weeks, the rest.
I was hoping that along the way I could plan another resupply flight before the food was gone. I explained my plan to Morrison and Fauntroy and was glad to hear that they were working on supply mission in 14 weeks from Britain. That would work out perfectly, giving me an extra six to eight weeks to put one together.
We planned tomorrow’s trip to Nimule; the meds would be split between the choppers. Both choppers would be flown back to Kampala. The normal embassy one would be parked on its pad and the other outside the embassy by the new fence. The night security crew would assign someone to guard it.
The truck and trailer would be loaded and driven to the embassy today. The truck and both Suburbans would leave at 4 AM for Nimule and both choppers at 8. The two mechanics were going to act as co-pilots. They were both capable of piloting, even though they were not working in that capacity for JBG.
Some of the security day shift would be going with the truck and Suburbans. The VIPs would be split up between the choppers.
It was planned; well, I would see how well that worked out tomorrow.
By noon everything was loaded and the C5 and hangar secured. We had lunch at the hotel; Vicky and I with some guards were going back to the embassy. We both had dozens of business related emails and conference calls to do and the secure systems at the embassy were appealing.
We were just getting ready to leave for the hotel when Major Culpepper handed me his phone, “This is General Walton; I understand the C5 is in Africa?”
“Yes, that is correct,” I replied.
“I have an emergency contract flight for it and your crew, since you are in the area,” he said.
“Let me give the phone to the pilot and you can fill him with all the information,” I replied as I handed the phone to Adam.
The C5 agreement was up in a few weeks; I wondered if this was a test of just how flexible we would be to their needs if we were given a contract with the Air Force. I was positive that he knew what we were doing here and the plan to return home. Sending the C5 away would take away our ticket home.
The fuel trucks were called to add 25 thousand gallons of very high priced fuel to top off the C5 tanks and it was nearly ready to leave when Adam motioned me off to the side.
“First stop is Saudi Arabia to pick up freight and then to Turkey. After that the flight is to the Minot Air Force base in North Dakota and then to the repository in Texas.”
“I think we are going to be transporting NATO nuclear warheads out of Turkey because of the turmoil there,” Adam said.
“Are you comfortable with that?” I asked.
“Nothing we have not done before. You need to develop plan B to get home; between loadings, layovers and flight time, we won’t be done in time to get back here to pick you up on Sunday,” Adam replied.
“It would not make sense for the C5 to come back here anyhow – as much fuel as it uses – so I am already working on it. Be careful, Turkey is not a good place any more. I will see you men next week,” I replied.
I could tell that there was some concern with some of the members of my group, but I had plan B in the works and plan C as the last resort. To complicate things, Ching Lee, Andy and I needed to be in Minneapolis on Monday to give a deposition to the investigating committee.
With the hangars locked down, the truck and other vehicles left for Kampala. Vicky and I split the group up and flew to the embassy.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.
Many thank yous for my meds as always….
I was wondering if the last word should be change from Embassy to camp? Where were they going from? Thought they were already parked at the embassy?
The beat goes on, More to come you will be surprised.